BISMARCK - On August 27, a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the implementation of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Water of the United States rule, which was slated to take effect today, August 28. There continues to be some speculation about whether the court’s ruling applies only to the 13 states involved in the litigation or to the entire country.
In issuing a preliminary injunction against the rule, Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court for the District of North Dakota found that the 13 states who brought the lawsuit would likely be harmed without court intervention. Several other WOTUS related lawsuits by states and industry groups are pending in other jurisdictions.
Following the ruling, EPA said in a statement that the injunction only impacts the thirteen states that filed for it: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. EPA said that the rule will take effect today for all other states and that EPA is evaluating the court order. Many industry groups disagree with EPA’s narrow interpretation of the court order. PLNA and our national counterparts NALP and AmericanHort are watching the litigation discussion and will continue to provide you with further updates and analyses.
PLNA has remained neutral on the WOTUS regs since they are weaker than Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law and would have no impact on the regulation of water quality in Pennsylvania.