State leaders applaud judicial block of WOTUS

BISMARCK — North Dakota state leaders welcomed a federal judicial ruling Wednesday that blocks implementation of the Biden Administration’s new Waters of the U.S. rule.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland granted a preliminary injunction blocking implementation or enforcement. North Dakota was one of 24 states to bring a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking a federal judge to declare the new WOTUS rule unlawful and vacate it.

“Today’s decision by Judge Hovland rightly blocks the Biden administration’s overreaching rule that would unlawfully extend federal jurisdiction to nearly every stream, pond and wetland in North Dakota. This rule would create confusion and restrict activities for farmers, ranchers and other landowners while driving up costs for consumers,” Burgum said. “North Dakota has some of the cleanest air and water in the nation because we responsibly develop our natural resources and properly exercise our state’s authority to protect our own waters from pollution.”

“This injunction is great news for North Dakota’s ag producers as they gear up for planting season,” Congressman Kelly Armstrong said. “The Biden administration’s WOTUS rule is a red tape disaster that does nothing to keep our water clean. I’m hopeful the court will ultimately throw it out.”

Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven also applauded the court action.

“Beginning with President Obama, and furthered by President Biden, it is the environmentalist’s dream to regulate our water to the raindrop,” Cramer said. “Once again North Dakota is among the leaders in the fight to remind them such actions are illegal. Thanks to Attorney General Wrigley, our state is spared from federal mediocrity.”

“This injunction is a welcome relief from the ever-growing, burdensome regulations being pushed by the Biden administration,” Hoeven said. “This expanded WOTUS rule would impose higher costs on critical industries, including agriculture, energy and construction, leading to greater inflation throughout our economy. That’s the last thing our nation needs. We worked to introduce and pass a CRA through the Senate to block the WOTUS rule, and will continue working to provide regulatory relief and prevent President Biden from advancing his harmful and costly Green New Deal agenda. At the same time, we are hopeful that the Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. EPA will resolve the uncertainty created by this federal overreach, while protecting the rights of states to manage their lands and waters.”

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers published the final WOTUS rule in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, repealing the definition of WOTUS that the Trump administration adopted in 2020 in its Navigable Waters Protection Rule. North Dakota was a co-leader in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.

 The 24 states involved in the lawsuit are 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, West Virginia and Wyoming. A federal judge previously granted an injunction blocking the new WOTUS rule in Idaho and Texas as well.


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