Judge finds evidence EPA was arbitrary, capricious in writing WOTUS rule
Washington—District Court Judge Ralph Erickson on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction requested by North Dakota and a dozen other states that sued the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers in June over their Waters of the United States rule.
Judge Erickson “found strong evidence that the EPA was arbitrary and capricious in its rulemaking,” explained American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. “He saw no connection between key provisions of the rule and the science that was presented to support it. Based on evidence presented so far, he ordered that the rule be stopped while the litigation continues to a conclusion.”
Stallman continued, “We applaud the court’s decision. The so-called Clean Water Rule is yet another example of EPA’s reckless and unlawful behavior in the face of science, economics and the law. Whether you’re a farmer, a rancher, a homebuilder or landowner of any stripe, the evidence is clear: This rule simply has to be stopped.”
EPA said in a statement that the judge’s ruling applies only to the 13 states involved in the lawsuit. The agency considers the WOTUS rule to be the law of the land in the rest of the country, beginning today. The 13 states that brought the suit are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
“Even in the face of this court order, EPA is reportedly asserting it will enforce the new rule in the 37 states that are not part of the North Dakota lawsuit,” Stallman said. "Thus, for much of the nation, this unlawful rule will continue to create uncertainty and legal risk for commonplace land uses like farming and ranching. It’s clear that now is the time for Congress to act and pass S. 1140 to send EPA back to the drawing board. We won’t stop until this rule is finished.”