Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Federal Judge Blocks WOTUS Implementation

by Andy Schwab

A US District Judge has granted 24 states a preliminary injunction to the Biden Administration’s 2023 Waters of the US rule. The decision stops the EPA revised definition from implementation or enforcement that began just last month.

Daniel Hovland, US District Judge in North Dakota said the 24 states have persuasively shown that the new 2023 Rule poses a threat to their sovereign rights and amounts to irreparable harm. The States involved in this litigation will expend unrecoverable resources complying with a rule unlikely to withstand judicial scrutiny.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum applauded the decision and said, “Judge Hovland rightly blocked the Biden administration’s overreaching rule that would unlawfully extend federal jurisdiction to nearly every stream, pond and wetland in North Dakota. This rule would create confusion and restrict activities for farmers, ranchers and other landowners while driving up costs for consumers.”

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers published the final WOTUS rule in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, repealing the definition of WOTUS that the Trump administration adopted in 2020 in its Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The 24 states involved in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

A federal judge previously granted an injunction blocking the new WOTUS rule in Idaho and Texas as well.

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Northern Ag Network – 2023

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