North Dakota Court on WOTUS: "Whoa" to EPA

Aug 28, 2015
Where will she come down?
 GA-Woe to US Today-150828

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States, better known as Waters of the U.S. or WOTUS, has been sidelined by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota who called the measure "exceptionally expansive."   EPA has said they consider the preliminary injunction to only affect the 13 states involved in the lawsuit:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.  For all other states, WOTUS will go into effect today as scheduled.

The North Dakota judge found the rule likely to be arbitrary and capricious and so expansive that it was contrary to the Clean Water Act's grant of jurisdiction.  EPA's argument is that the lawsuit needed to be consolidated in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, where 14 other suits are pending.  In the meantime the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) sent a letter to the agency requesting more time before implementation so state agencies could understand "their duties and obligations," but were rebuffed.   

"The Clean Water Rule is now in effect in all rice states except Arkansas and Missouri.  Famers and landowners in the states where the regulation applies are advised to consult with State and Local authorities regarding the timeline of implementation and how to avoid regulatory action," said USA Rice Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Mosely.

"There are still several pieces of legislation that have been introduced and passed out of committees in both the House and the Senate that would restrict or delay the final rule from going into effect," Mosely added.  "Congress will likely consider language in appropriations bills that would also aim to prevent the regulations from being enforced.  USA Rice supports these efforts and will work with our allies in Congress to include a statutory fix in whatever legislative vehicle has the best potential to clear both chambers of Congress."