Governor Gordon Leads Lawsuit Against EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Governor Gordon has added Wyoming to a lawsuit filed by multiple states against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).
That's according to a press release from the Governor's office, which states that the lawsuit is in regards to "The new revision of the 'waters of the U.S.,' or WOTUS rule. Wyoming is part of a 24-state coalition arguing that the rule is overly broad and an example of federal agency overreach. The new definition will subject additional Wyoming water features – including those on private land – to federal regulation."
The lawsuit comes after Wyoming and 24 other states sent a letter to President Biden last month which called on the Biden Administration to delay the implementation of the rule while the U.S. Supreme Court oversees a case related to the Clean Water Act. That case is Sackett v. EPA.
The letter states that this revised ruled "creates uncertainty for rural communities and hampers the ability of states to give clarity and consistency to businesses, farms, and individuals regarding the regulatory framework for water."
The 'Final Rule' regarding the "Waters of the United States' was published in January of 2023 and will go in effect on March 20, 2023.
The Federal Register states that "The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (“the agencies”) are finalizing a rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act. In developing this rule, the agencies considered the text of the relevant provisions of the Clean Water Act and the statute as a whole, the scientific record, relevant Supreme Court case law, and the agencies' experience and technical expertise after more than 45 years of implementing the longstanding pre-2015 regulations defining “waters of the United States.”
"This final rule advances the objective of the Clean Water Act and ensures critical protections for the nation's vital water resources, which support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth across the United States."
The release from the Governor's office states that the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and Wyoming Department of Agriculture recently sent letters to the EPA, which addressed this rule, stating that Wyoming supported limited federal regulatory authority when it came to the Waters of the United States.
“It remains frustrating and deeply disturbing that the EPA and Corps continue to ignore the voices of the states and their on-the-ground expertise when crafting this rule, which impacts the lives and livelihoods of so many Wyoming residents,” Governor Gordon said. “It is critical that we protect the rights of Wyoming private landowners and businesses from vague rules that make compliance difficult and costly.”
The release notes that this lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. Included in the lawsuit are Wyoming, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
You can read the Waters of the U.S. Rule in full by visiting this link.