Legal Alerts Aug 28, 2015

Federal Judge Halts Implementation of Waters of the United States Rule

Injunction Applies Only to 13 States That Are Parties to the Case

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On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson in Fargo, N.D. issued a temporary injunction requested by North Dakota and 12 other states prohibiting the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a revised definition of the term “waters of the United States” for the purposes of Clean Water Act jurisdiction.

The following states were parties to the challenge: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The states had sued the EPA and the Corps, arguing that the rules are federal overreach and could be costly and confusing for landowners. Notably, two other federal court districts, (Northern District of West Virginia and Southern District of Georgia) dismissed a similar injunction request.

Following the decision, EPA announced that the 13 states that are parties to the North Dakota lawsuit will temporarily operate under the old regulatory definition of waters of the United States. The EPA will implement the new rule throughout the rest of the country. As this is a preliminary injunction, and there are several other challenges pending, there will be additional news in coming weeks.

For more information on this case and how it may impact your agency, please contact one of the authors of this legal alert listed at the right in the Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group, or your BB&K attorney.

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Disclaimer: BB&K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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