Hoeven seeks appeals process at Fish and Wildlife Services for landowners

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) urged the Trump administration to establish an appeals process at the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for farmers and ranchers impacted by wetlands easements.

“Our farmers and ranchers are the best in the world, and if we want them to be able to continue to compete in the global marketplace, we shouldn’t burden them with uncertainty and unreasonable regulations,” Sen. Hoeven said during an Oct. 2 landowners’ roundtable held in Hope, N.D.

Sen. Hoeven asked U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt to help advance regulatory relief at the FWS, which he thinks should institute wetlands regulations similar to those used at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), under which Sen. Hoeven sought to provide regulatory relief as a member of the 2018 Farm Bill conference committee, according to his staff.

“The FWS’s perpetual wetlands easements significantly restrict farmers’ operations, while offering them no opportunity to appeal when the agency makes its determinations,” said Sen. Hoeven. “This is exactly the kind of overregulation we prevented at NRCS when we made reforms to the conservation title in last year’s farm bill.

“The FWS should follow this example and pursue a more farmer-friendly approach, and we will work with Secretary Bernhardt to do just that,” added the senator, who serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.