Arizona Judge Vacates Navigable Waters Protection Rule
The District of Arizona court ruled this week to vacate the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. However, what the decision means for the rule is one of many questions yet to be answered. Three courts have refused to dismantle the NWPR, including last month when a federal court in South Carolina refused a similar request from plaintiff groups.
Dan Newhouse, chair of the Western Caucus blasted this week's ruling.
“It is disappointing to see our courts take cues from the Biden Administration’s empty talking points spreading fear and misinformation about the Navigable Waters Protection Rule," said Newhouse. "Rural America and local communities have a vested interest in clean water. Allowing states and local landowners to oversee protections for local waters does not inherently equate to environmental degradation, and any such claim is ridiculous and lacking in scientific evidence. This decision greatly limits their ability to support existing, sustainable efforts to protect the nation’s waterways. It is no surprise that the same misguided environmental lobbyists bring lawsuit after lawsuit to further line their coffers; but it is completely impermissible that the Biden Administration simultaneously refuses to prioritize regulatory certainty, together, these efforts seek to cripple our economies, environment, and rural way of life."
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall stated, “This ruling casts uncertainty over farmers and ranchers across the country and threatens the progress they’ve made to responsibly manage water and natural resources.”
Duvall said AFBF is reviewing the ruling to determine the next course of action. Earthjustice sued the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers in the Arizona case. An Earthjustice attorney states the ruling allows “the Clean Water Act to continue to protect all of our waters while the Biden administration develops a replacement rule.” The ruling comes just days ahead of the deadline for comments regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to rewrite WOTUS.
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