Cincinnati court puts WOTUS implementation on hold

On Oct. 9, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction that will remain in effect until the court rules on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed by states, Farm Bureaus and other agricultural groups against the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule, which would significantly expand federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Under the new rule, nearly all of the nation’s total acreage would be under EPA’s scrutiny.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit in June against EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers saying the WOTUS rule “clearly violates both the language and spirit of the Clean Water Act, which recognizes the rights of states to serve as trustees of their natural resources.”

American Farm Bureau has been at the forefront in opposition to the rule, rolling out an aggressive “Ditch the Rule” campaign that called on members at the national, state and local levels to take action against WOTUS.

The day before WOTUS went into effect Aug. 28, a federal judge in North Dakota blocked the rule’s implementation in the 13 states that filed the case before him. The EPA said at the time it would still implement the rule in Ohio and the other 36 states that were outside of that ruling. The Cincinnati appeals court’s ruling, however, means that for now the EPA can’t implement the rule anywhere.