One day after a ruling by a U.S. District Judge in Texas was entered March 19 to halt the 2023 Waters of the United States Rule in two states, Texas and Idaho, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented March 20 on the court’s decision.
The ruling by District Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas was in the matter of the State of Texas, Et Al., Plaintiffs, v United States Environmental Protection Agency, Et Al., Defendants, provided a Memorandum Opinion and an order granting preliminary injunction against the 2023 WOTUS in Texas and Idaho. WOTUS went into effect in other states under the Clean Water Act, 33 on March 20.
The ruling read in part, “Two states—Texas and Idaho (“the States”)—and eighteen national trade associations (‘the Associations’) have asked the court to preliminarily enjoin the Rule while the court considers their consolidated request to vacate and remand…”
A vocal opponent to WOTUS, AFBF is among the agencies who sought to halt the convoluted measure. Duvall stated after the court, ruling, “AFBF is pleased the District Court ordered EPA and the U.S. Army Corps to halt implementation of the troubled 2023 WOTUS Rule in Texas and Idaho. The judge recognized the new rule likely oversteps EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act, which creates uncertainty for the farmers and ranchers who must navigate the complicated regulations.
“The District Court ruling also undermines the agencies’ rationale for pushing through this new rule before the Supreme Court rules in Sackett v. EPA. These legal challenges send a clear message to EPA that it should rewrite WOTUS to limit its scope to navigable waters. Farmers and ranchers share the goal of caring for the natural resources we’re entrusted with, but we need rules that don’t require a team of attorneys to interpret.”
The ruling also stated, “At least twenty-five other states have filed complaints and motions for preliminary injunctions against the Rule.”
Read the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruling here.