Coalition of AGs Win Preliminary Injunction on Waters of the United States Rule

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Attorney General John Formella

Attorney General John M. Formella announces that the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction barring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing its final rule redefining Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

“For me this is all about protecting the sovereignty of States and defending against federal overreach that imposes overly burdensome regulations on our citizens,” said Attorney General Formella. “This new rule would redefine ‘navigable waters’ and expand the definition of that term to include ponds, streams, ditches, potholes, and other bodies of water – temporary or otherwise – under the Clean Water Act, as determined by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.  This would affect not only farmers, but private landowners as well, who may be unaware that they may need to get permission from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to make changes to their property. That permission not only comes at steep cost, but subjects developers, miners, and property owners wishing to make use of their land to severe and significant civil and criminal penalties too. We are grateful that the Court stepped in to put this rule on hold while our litigation progresses.”

In February, Attorney General Formella joined a coalition of 24 states in a lawsuit against the EPA, asking a federal court to vacate the newly published final rule redefining WOTUS and declare it unlawful.

As the states’ lawsuit made clear, “if the final rule is left in place, then ranchers, farmers, miners, homebuilders, and other landowners across the country will struggle to undertake even the simplest of activities on their own property without fear of drawing the ire of the federal government… Landowning Americans of all stripes will thus be left with a choice: (a) fight their way through an expensive and lengthy administrative process to obtain complex jurisdictional determinations and permits or (b) face substantial civil and criminal penalties. The Final Rule’s ambiguous environmental benefits do not justify any of this.”

Read a copy of Wednesday’s order at:

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