A federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota Aug. 27 blocked implementation in 13 states of the“Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) final rule that was issued May 27 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The final rule, which dramatically expands the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the country, is still effective as of Aug. 28 for the states not covered by the decision.
Judge Ralph Erickson stated in his decision that “the risk of irreparable harm to the States is both imminent and likely,” and referenced a set of memos from the USACE to the EPA detailing concerns about the WOTUS rule and stating that the final rule has serious flaws.
Erickson’s statements echoed ABC’s concerns that the WOTUS rule “will lead to an unnecessarily longer and more expensive permitting process for contractors which would undoubtedly harm the construction industry.”
The ruling blocked implementation of the WOTUS rule in the following states, which will be subject to the prior regulation:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
This rule also has faced several other petitions for injunction, two of which were dismissed by other courts that cited a lack of jurisdiction.
Additional information about the WOTUS final rule can be found on EPA’s website.