EPA’s WOTUS Woes Spill into 2016

The “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Rule met more critics than fans when introduced last May, and its future still looks troubled. The Rule, issued jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, applies the Clean Water Act to define what waters fall under CWA’s programs. Early critics faulted the agencies for overreaching and expanding CWA’s jurisdiction beyond its established legal limits, while the agencies maintain that the scope of the new rule is well within CWA jurisdiction and existing regulations.

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Pitfalls to Avoid with Conservation Easements

Agricultural operators and other landowners in the Rocky Mountain region may find compelling reasons to consider establishing a conservation easement on their property. For some farm and ranch owners, a conservation easement offers certainty that the family’s way of life will be preserved, at the same time providing substantial financial benefits. The success of a conservation easement, however, depends crucially on strict compliance with the requirements of both applicable state statutes and federal tax laws. If those requirements are not met or are later discovered not to comply, the conservation easement can be voided, with possibly dire consequences for the landowner.

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