24 State AGs Sue Biden’s EPA Over Far-Reaching Water Rule

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Twenty-four state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday for its new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which redefines what waters are federally protected and subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit is the latest attempt by Republicans to overturn a rule they say places an undue burden on landowners; nearly 150 members of Congress introduced a resolution against the new Biden EPA rule on Feb. 2., and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on Jan. 18. The attorneys general the Biden administration’s redefinition of “navigable waters” rule exceeds the authority granted to the EPA under the Clean Water Act and potentially raises constitutional concerns.

The new definition is set to take effect March 20, 2023. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who co-led the coalition with the attorneys general of Georgia, Iowa and North Dakota, announced the lawsuit during a press conference Thursday.

“The Supreme Court needs to define once and for all the term ‘Waters of the United States’ in such a way that state lands and waters are not subject to the whims of unelected bureaucrats,” Morrisey said in a statement. (RELATED: Republicans Are Trying To Repeal One Of The Biden EPA’s Most Far-Reaching Regulations)

Legal confusion abounds regarding the law’s definition of “navigable waters,” which changes with each new presidential administration, shrinking federally protected areas under the Trump administration and expanding them under the Biden administration. The Supreme Court will have a chance to resolve the question and make a determination on the Biden EPA’s new definition in its upcoming case, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The Biden administration’s water rule limits use of land and violates the law and U.S. Constitution. The EPA greatly overstepped its authority by trying to claim jurisdiction over land and water that is not connected to any navigable water,” Montana Attorney General Knudsen said in a statement. “We’re fighting to protect the farm and ranching operations, mining and energy workers, and infrastructure and housing projects across Montana that will be harmed if this overreaching and unconstitutional rule takes effect.”

States that joined the lawsuit include: West Virginia, Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

An EPA spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation the agency has “no further information to add” because this is “pending litigation.”

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