Attorney General Curtis Hill today applauded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to grant a preliminary injunction blocking the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule for Indiana and 10 other states.
“This rule, a product of the Obama years, infringes on the states’ rightful authority to regulate land and water resources within their own borders,” said Attorney General Hill. “I hope this preliminary injunction foreshadows a final resolution that properly upholds the principles of American federalism. Going forward, my office will continue to stand against federal overreach.”
A complaint filed by Indiana and the 10 other states stipulated that the 2015 WOTUS Rule violates the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. In its order issued June 8, the court agreed that if the WOTUS Rule became effective, the states would suffer irreparable harm in the form of both a “loss of sovereignty and unrecoverable monetary losses.” The court concluded that blocking the WOTUS Rule also favors the public interest because it saves “farmers, homeowners, and small businesses” from having to “devote time and expense to obtaining federal permits … to comply with a rule that is likely to be invalidated.”
The WOTUS Rule, purported to protect the environment, would have taken jurisdiction over natural resources from states and put it in the hands of federal agencies. These resources included almost any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year floodplains and roadside ditches.
The 11-state coalition that filed the complaint also includes Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
In light of the district court’s order and an earlier injunction granted by the U.S. District Court for North Dakota, federal courts have now issued injunctions against the 2015 WOTUS Rule in favor of 24 states.