Attorney General Chris Carr announced Thursday that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted summary judgment in favor of Georgia and 9 other states in their lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule and kept an injunction against the Rule in place while federal agencies finalize its replacement.
“For more than four years, Georgia has led a multistate coalition in the fight against the 2015 WOTUS Rule, a clear example of federal overreach that infringed on the States’ traditional role as primary regulators of land and water resources within their borders,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “We are proud to have fought for this relief, and we look forward to reforms that will permanently relieve farmers and landowners of the unnecessary burdens that the 2015 WOTUS Rule created.”
In its ruling issued Wednesday afternoon, the court held that the 2015 WOTUS Rule “extend[ed] the Agencies’ delegated authority beyond the limits of the [Clean Water Act]” in a number of ways and also violated multiple procedural requirements for issuing the Rule set out in the federal Administrative Procedure Act. The court explained, “Congress has delegated the important role of protecting the nation’s waters to the Agencies, but in fulfilling that role, the Agencies must comply with the law. Here, they have failed to do just that.” As a result, the court left in place its preliminary injunction that blocks the rule from going into effect in any of the coalition states while the agencies “continue their efforts to change the WOTUS Rule in light of the serious defects identified in this Order.”
“Today’s court ruling rightfully rejected gross federal overreach into state land and water regulation, ultimately protecting the livelihoods of thousands of Georgia farm families and agribusinesses,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “I thank Attorney General Carr for his leadership and look forward to working with leaders in our state’s top industry to ensure a bright future for Georgia agriculture.”
“Four years ago, federal regulators tried to sell us a bill of goods with this wretched rule. The court has now rightfully replied back ‘going, going, gone’,” said Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black.
Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army proposed rules that would rescind and replace the 2015 WOTUS Rule. In April of this year, Georgia joined 16 other states in submitting comments supporting that proposal. READ MORE HERE.
Led by the Georgia Solicitor General’s Unit, the 10-state coalition in this case also included the following states:Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
A copy of the ruling can be found here.