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States, Agricultural Groups File Suit Against EPA’s WOTUS Rule

States, Agricultural Groups File Suit Against EPA’s WOTUS Rule
July 31, 2015 |

Numerous states and agricultural organizations have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since it released a final Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule June 29.

The following day, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange joined eight other states on a lawsuit asking a federal district court in Georgia to strike down the controversial rule. Farmers have been concerned about the rule since a first draft was introduced in April 2014.

“The final WOTUS rule adds vague definitions to the Clean Water Act that could expand the administration’s jurisdiction to previously unregulated areas, including dry land,” said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “We’re happy to see Attorney General Strange do what is in his power to stop this detrimental rule from being implemented.”

Other states involved in the suit are West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. 

“This new rule would expand the reach of the federal government onto the property of homeowners, farmers and other businesses, potentially requiring them to obtain permits for the simplest of changes to their land, including fence building, digging ditches or spraying fertilizers,” Strange said. “The phrase ‘government run amok’ may be overused, but it certainly fits in this case.”

Michigan and Ohio have filed a separate suit in an Ohio court.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 13 other agricultural groups also filed suit in a Texas federal district court July 2 in an attempt to stop WOTUS rule implementation.

The EPA formally published the WOTUS rule in the Federal Register June 29. It will take effect Aug. 28, unless Congress or the courts stop adoption of the rule.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to prevent implementation, and a similar measure passed the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee June 10. However, President Barack Obama has defended the
regulation.

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