A 2015 rule that expands the federal government’s control over private land nationwide should be vacated in its entirety, attorneys argued in papers filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
AFBF and a broad coalition of business groups, along with the state of Texas and others, are suing to do away with the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. Plaintiffs say the rule is illegal for a host of reasons, including that it disregards statutory and Supreme Court requirements that federally regulated “waters” be at least closely connected to “navigable” waterbodies. The illegal 2015 rule instead regulates “vast tracts of the United States, including millions of miles of man-made ditches and municipal stormwater systems, dry desert washes and arroyos in the arid west, and virtually all of the water-rich Southeast.”
The current filings in Texas mark the third time a federal district court has been asked to strike the 2015 rule. Federal courts in North Dakota and Georgia are also currently considering similar claims by dozens of states and business organizations. The rule has been temporarily blocked in dozens of states pending the outcome of the litigation.