Attorney General Jackley Joins Western State Attorneys General to Challenge EPA on Waters of the United States
PIERRE – Attorney General Marty Jackley joined with Attorneys General from twelve other states in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) over the EPA’s new rule defining “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. Approximately 35 States have filed comments in opposition and several other State Attorneys General are similarly filing lawsuits.
“The EPA is overstepping its Congressional authority and seizing rights specifically reserved to the States,” Jackley said. “The EPA is creating uncertainty for our agriculture and business community that needs to have fairness and a degree of common sense in federal regulation.”
In their Complaint, the states contend the new definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) violates provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the United States Constitution.
The States assert that the EPA’s new rule inappropriately broadens federal authority by placing a majority of water and land resources management in the hands of the federal government. Congress and the courts have repeatedly affirmed the States have primary responsibility for the protection of intrastate waters and land management. The States argue that the burdens created by the new EPA requirements on waters and lands are harmful to the States and will negatively affect agriculture economic development.
The new rule greatly expands and brings numerous isolated bodies of water under the jurisdiction of the EPA and Corps with the result that landowners will have to seek additional federal permits or face substantial fines and federal criminal enforcement actions.
The States are seeking to have the rule vacated and the EPA and Corps enjoined from enforcing the new definition of WOTUS.
Participating in the filing are the attorneys general from the states of: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.