Waterway through grassed area Zooner RF/ThinkstockPhotos

Judge puts WOTUS on hold in 11 states

The Trump administration previously delayed effective date until 2020.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has effectively suspended the Waters of the United States rule from taking effect in 11 states.

Wood granted a motion for a preliminary injunction that prevents implementation of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule, the Brunswick News reported.

What states are covered by this ruling?

The states of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Kentucky.

Didn’t a judge in North Dakota put WOTUS on hold earlier?

Yes, U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson blocked the rule for 13 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. 

Does it matter?

Not immediately, Politico reports, but it suggests opponents of the rule may have more wins ahead. The Trump administration has delayed the effective date of the rule until Feb. 6, 2020

Comments

“While the ruling was a clear validation of many concerns that Farm Bureau has expressed about the rule, we need to continue to work diligently to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to formally repeal the rule,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall in response to the latest ruling. “The illegal rule is overbroad, vague and confusing, and it goes far beyond the intent of Congress when it passed the Clean Water Act. This overreach and confusion has created a situation where farmers and ranchers would need to hire a team of lawyers and consultants to perform many ordinary farming practices on their land. EPA should ditch this rule for good and replace it with a proposal that offers both clean water and clear rules—one that is easy to interpret and allows farmers and ranchers to continue to feed, clothe and fuel our nation.”

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