The American Farm Bureau Federation and a coalition of business groups have filed a motion in federal district court in Georgia asking it to expand its prior order delaying implementation of the flawed 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule in 11 states. The coalition asked that the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia extend its previous injunction to block the WOTUS rule in the remaining 22 states (including Illinois and Minnesota) that are currently subject to the controversial rule.
AFBF’s motion was prompted by another court’s decision in August striking down an Environmental Protection Agency rule that had delayed application of the WOTUS rule nationwide pending the agency’s ongoing reconsideration of the rule.
In addition to the court in Georgia, federal courts in North Dakota and Texas have blocked the WOTUS rule in specific states. These decisions have left only 22 states subject to the 2015 rule. If the Georgia court extends its injunction as requested, the WOTUS rule will be temporarily blocked in all 50 states.
As explained in the motion, one of the many problems with the WOTUS situation is the hodgepodge of states in which the federal rule is applicable. “This is a deeply troubling state of affairs. A rule this fundamental to the [Clean Water Act’s] regulatory scheme should not apply in a patchwork manner.”