(Posted Tue. Sep 8th, 2015)
The U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota ruled last Friday that the preliminary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to postpone implementation of the “Waters of the U.S.” rule applies only in the 13 states involved in this specific court case. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Md., issued the following statement:
“We are disappointed with the North Dakota court decision. WOTUS is a national rule with national ramifications, and the injunction should be applied nationwide. In the initial ruling, the judge stated the rule was likely to cause ‘irreparable harm.’ We believe this would be true in all 50 states, not just the 13 states that filed this request.
“Regardless of whether the injunction applies to 13 states or 50, the rule affects every farmer and rancher in America. It may take months or even years for the courts to sort out the legality of WOTUS. With the Army Corps of Engineers stating that this rule is not based on law or science, and is not likely to withstand a legal challenge, we are confident that WOTUS will eventually be overturned in court. In the meantime, farmers are on the hook. We urge all farmers – and especially those who do not reside in the 13 states for which this injunction applies – to proceed with caution.
“Today’s decision makes one thing all the more clear: we need to permanently repeal WOTUS. The rule does not provide farmers with clarity and certainty about their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and does nothing to improve water quality. We urge the Senate to pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, as soon as possible. This law will force EPA to withdraw WOTUS and work with farmers and other stakeholders to rewrite the rule.
“Clean water is important to us all. NCGA is committed to working with the EPA, the Corps, and other stakeholders to protect America’s water resources.”