New WOTUS rule active in 48 states

The Biden administration’s rule regarding the Waters of the United States went into effect March 20 in 48 states.
The rule went live across the United States with the exception of Texas and Idaho, thanks to a federal judge in Texas.

The Biden administration’s rule regarding the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) went into effect March 20 in 48 states.

Texas and Idaho were excluded from the rule’s jurisdiction.

“The states have asked to enjoin the rule within their borders; the associations have asked for a nationwide injunction. The court grants the states’ motion but denies the associations’,” reads the court decision handed down by Jeffrey Brown, United States district judge for the Southern District of Texas.

Trade associations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, praised the court’s decision.

“AFBF is pleased the district court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps to halt implementation of the troubled 2023 WOTUS Rule in Texas and Idaho,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall says. “The judge recognized the new rule likely oversteps EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act, which creates uncertainty for the farmers and ranchers who must navigate the complicated regulations.”

The rule’s history is one of controversy prompting lawsuits from more than 20 state attorneys general and 18 national trade associations to file a suit challenging the final rule. Although the Irrigation Association was not one of the associations involved in the suit, Nathan Bowen, IA advocacy director, said that “clear and workable regulations” relating to WOTUS are essential.

“We expect there to be further movement on this policy and will continue to follow it and intervene when necessary to effectively represent our members’ interests,” says Bowen.

The Supreme Court has not yet passed down a ruling on Sackett v. EPA which, after a decision has been made, could impact the Biden administration rule the Biden administration rule.

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