Expanded WOTUS order put on hold by Federal Judge

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For now, the Biden administration’s enforcement of a new WOTUS rule is on hold.

A North Dakota U.S. District Court Judge granted a preliminary injunction, prohibiting the enforcement, implementation or application of the administration’s revised “Waters of the United States” rule.

Oklahoma and 23 other states filed a challenge earlier in the year against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“I am pleased by the injunctive relief granted today,” Drummond said. “The Biden Administration routinely infringes on the 10th Amendment rights of Oklahoma and other states, but today the Court put that overreach on hold. I will continue fighting to defend Oklahoma’s sovereignty in this matter.”

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Drummond contends that instead of supposedly clarifying the Clean Water Act, the recent rule proposed by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers would only spur confusion and uncertainty by significantly broadening the EPA’s jurisdiction.

The order granting a preliminary junction can be read here.

Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas immediately applauded the decision of Federal Judge Daniel Hovland  and said he was optimistic the U.S. Supreme Court will provide nationwide clarity soon.

“Beginning with the Obama Administration and furthered by the President Biden, WOTUS has continued to burden farmers, ranchers, and landowners with overreaching and unworkable regulations. America’s farmers, ranchers, and landowners deserve a WOTUS definition that is fair and provides regulatory clarity and certainty to agriculture and businesses,” said Congressman Lucas.
Ever since WOTUS was introduced by the Obama Administration in 2015, the issue has been like a ping-pong ball, going back and forth from implementation to reversal, depending on the administration in control of the White House.
Obama’s rule expanded the definition of “waters of the U.S.” and gave the federal government authority to regulate almost any waters, including streams, ditches, ponds and creek.
U.S. waterways to get more protections as Trump rule revised | Grist
In 2020, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), finalized by the Trump Administration, revised the definition of WOTUS and reversed this overreach, bringing back a balance between federal and state jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
Following his inauguration on January 20th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed Executive Order 13990 which directed federal agencies to review all existing regulations, orders, guidance documents, policies, and any other similar agency actions promulgated, issued, or adopted between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021, including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.
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Under the direction of Executive Order 13990, on June 9th, 2021, the EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of WOTUS. Lucas strongly opposed the Biden Administration’s Order.
On December 30, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a final rule to again redefine WOTUS per the Clean Water Act.
On March 9, 2023, the U.S. House passed  H.J. Res. 27, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on the Biden Administration’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. On March 29th, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the resolution overturning the Biden Administration’s WOTUS rule by a vote of 53-43.
On April 6, 2023, President Biden vetoed the CRA resolution.
Currently, the United States Supreme Court is considering Sackett v. EPA, a federal court case related to the jurisdiction of the EPA and federal government and the scope of the Clean Water Act.