TOPEKA – A federal appeals court today blocked implementation nationwide of the Environmental Protection Agency regulation commonly known as the “Waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS rule, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued a stay prohibiting the rule from taking effect while a number of legal challenges remain pending. The stay had been requested by Kansas and 17 other states challenging the WOTUS rule in that proceeding.
“A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new Rule and whether they will survive legal testing,” the court said in its ruling. “A stay honors the policy of cooperative federalism that informs the Clean Water Act and must attend the shared responsibility for safeguarding the nation’s waters.”
Schmidt welcomed the court’s decision.
“The court today agreed with us that this rule should be put on hold until a final determination has been made as to whether the EPA had the authority to issue this regulation,” Schmidt said. “We will continue our fight to ask the courts to permanently block the WOTUS rule, which is a clear overreach of federal authority. For now, Kansas farmers and ranchers and others affected by this regulatory change can take comfort in knowing the new regulations are not in effect.”
A total of 31 states and numerous private groups have filed 14 separate lawsuits challenging the WOTUS rule. Kansas is part of a group of 11 states whose challenge was filed in federal court in the Southern District of Georgia.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released a statement Friday afternoon in regards to court’s decsion.
“I was pleased to learn of this morning’s decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals staying nationwide enforcement of EPA’s ‘Waters of the United States’ rule. My administration has opposed this onerous, overreaching federal rule since it was first proposed. This rule intruded into state jurisdiction over water quality and significantly expanded EPA’s regulatory power. We will continue our fight to make certain that the Obama administration does not bring back this rule, and to protect the rights of Kansas landowners and businesses.”
We spoke Friday afternoon with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on today’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.