24 Republican Attorney Generals Sue the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Over Water Regulations

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
February 17, 2023US News
24 Republican Attorney Generals Sue the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Over Water Regulations
Water pumped up from an underground well flows into a cistern on a farm in Fresno, Calif., on July 24, 2021. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

On Feb. 15, a coalition of 24 state Republican Attorney Generals announced filing a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), asking the court to declare unlawful and vacate a rule the agencies developed that will determine which water resources receive federal protection.

Specifically, the rule, announced on Dec. 30 and scheduled to go into effect on March 20, defines wetlands and waterways that are Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and receive protection under that designation.

A statement that the EPA issued said that the rule “restores essential water protections that were in place before 2015 under the Clean Water Act.”

Attorney Generals Take Exception

The AGs contend that the Biden administration rule is vague and holds the potential to unnecessarily harm the livelihood of those whose work involves land and water stewardship and development, including farmers, builders, and ranchers.

NTD Photo
Marion Kujawa looks over a pond he uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Ill., on July 16.  (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As well, the AGs argue that the rule places undue restrictions on what people are permitted to do with their homes and residential properties.

But the EPA maintains that the rule is a reasonable and workable compromise between the Obama era, during which the federal government expanded water protections and regulations, and the Trump administration, which rolled back those controls.

Of consequence to the AGs lawsuit and the status of the EPA-USACE rule is a case that the U.S. Supreme Court may soon decide a case involving a married couple and their 15-year battle with the federal government to build a home on a half-acre patch of land alongside a lake in the Idaho wilderness.

How the solidly conservative Supreme Court decides could dramatically change the scope and authority of the Clean Water Act, established in 1972.

The state Attorney Generals are not waiting for salvation from SCOTUS and seek to limit Uncle Sam’s powers and jurisdiction with their legal action.

As the AGs petition in their lawsuit, if the new rule goes into effect, “then ranchers, farmers, miners, homebuilders, and other landowners across the country will struggle to undertake even the simplest of activities on their own property without fear of drawing the ire of the federal government.”

Mike Hilgers, Attorney General of Nebraska, the third highest agricultural-producing state in the country (as documented by 2021 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics), said in a statement that the rule is “flawed and unlawful” and “will affect farmers who may need to get permission from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to fill or dredge wetlands or waterways, depending on whether those features fall under the federal government’s purview.”

Joining Hilgers in the lawsuit are the Attorney Generals of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

From The Epoch Times