The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District has held that the Missouri Clean Water Commission’s interpretation of its “continuing authority” regulation was arbitrary and capricious. Historically, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has required permit applicants to prove that they were a corporation in good standing to comply with the continuing authority requirements. Recently, driven by political pressures, the Clean Water Commission reinterpreted those rules to require that only certain permit applicants submit undefined personal and business financial information to demonstrate compliance. The court disagreed.
The Court of Appeals held that the Clean Water Commission cannot change its interpretation without some notice or other action, and without undergoing normal rulemaking procedures. Instead, the Clean Water Commission chose “to arbitrarily overturn the DNR’s interpretation with no warning to the public or DNR and DNR’s agents.” The Court commented that the Clean Water Commission’s decision was “disingenuous” in light of the fact that it had recently revised its animal feeding operation regulations and declined to include its new and expanded interpretation of continuing authority in that regulation.
“The Missouri Pork Association is relieved that the Court of Appeals has repudiated the Clean Water Commission’s faulty interpretation of the continuing authority regulation and made it clear that the Commission did not follow proper rulemaking procedures,” said Don Nikodim, executive director of the Missouri Pork Association. “This appellate opinion lifts a cloud over agricultural, industrial and municipal permitting across the state,” said Nikodim.
A copy of the Court of Appeals decision may be found at https://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=107763.
The Missouri Pork Association represents the state’s pork producers in the areas of promotion, research, education and legislation. For more information about this or any other programs of the Missouri Pork Association, go to www.mopork.com, or call (573) 445-8375.