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WOTUS Rule Halted in Two States

The Biden administration’s too-stringent “waters of the United States” rule has been handed a setback, according to Bloomberg Law.

What’s going on: On Sunday a federal court judge in Texas placed a preliminary injunction against the 2023 WOTUS rule in Texas and Idaho, on the grounds that “[t]he EPA and Army Corps’ interpretation of the Clean Water Act to include all interstate waters without ‘any limiting principle’ raises ‘serious’ federalism questions.”

  • The Biden administration’s regulation, which repealed the Navigable Water Protection Rule and changed the definition of “waters of the United States,” went into effect in the rest of the country yesterday.
  • “US District Court Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown wrote that … [t]he rule is likely to irreparably harm Texas and Idaho [by] intruding on their sovereignty and imposing unrecoverable compliance costs…”
  • Since the rule’s finalization, “at least 26 states as well as agricultural and industry groups have joined at least five lawsuits seeking to vacate [it].”

Why it’s important: The injunction, which came days after the House voted to overturn the rule, is a sound first step toward reversing ambiguous, unnecessary changes to WOTUS.

  • As NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse told the House this month, “The rule adds new layers of permitting complications and uncertainties that will result in additional costs [and] increase[d] environmental modeling burdens and delays, and [could expose] manufacturing facilities to needless, wasteful and unnecessary administrative actions and litigation.”
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