‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule stayed
The state’s largest farm organization is very pleased by a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to issue a nationwide stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule.
“There have been multiple challenges to this rule, including two put forth by Texas Farm Bureau,” Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) President Russell Boening said. “We’re pleased the court has decided to stay the rule while these suits are sorted out. We hope it brings some clarity in an otherwise confusing situation.”
The court’s decision puts the EPA’s and Corps of Engineers’ enforcement of the rule on hold until the legal system can determine who has jurisdiction over the lawsuits filed against WOTUS in District and Appellate courts.
When the rule was first implemented, a North Dakota judge approved an injunction preventing enforcement of the rule. He further ruled the injunction only applied to the states that were party to the suit.
Texas was not one of those states.
“WOTUS has serious flaws. It’s a power grab by EPA that puts the livelihoods of Texas farmers in jeopardy by forcing them to obtain permits to do otherwise legal farm activity in areas that only sometimes hold water,” Boening said.
It’s not clear how long the court’s temporary stay will remain in effect. The final rule became effective Aug. 28, expanding the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction over waters under the Clean Water Act.