Are the embattled “Waters of the U.S.” regulations in violation of the Tenth Amendment? A group of 22 State Attorneys General have petitioned the Supreme Court, asking for a review of a lower court’s decision that lets the EPA trump state rights to regulate runoff from farmland and other sources.
These states argue that WOTUS amounts to micromanaging nutrient and sediment runoff, and that the EPA “unilaterally granted itself the power to make thousands of land-use decisions that have traditionally been, and should remain, State decisions.”
“Under the Clean Water Act, it is clear that States retain exclusive authority to regulate in this manner,” says Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The EPA is once again exceeding its legal authority under the Clean Water Act and wants to micromanage how States meet federal water quality standards. If the EPA wishes to regulate these sources, it should seek authority from Congress to do so and should not act through unilateral regulations that violate the rights of States."
The brief was filed in American Farm Bureau Federation, et al., v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, et al. States joining the brief include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Bob Stallman, president, American Farm Bureau Federation, issued the following statement.
"A legal opinion today by the U.S. Government Accountability Office finds that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law with its social media and grassroots lobbying campaign advocating for its own Waters of the U.S. rule.
"It's clear from this report that EPA orchestrated this matter in a biased fashion. Now it's up to Congress to clean up this mess by including a corrective measure in the omnibus bill now taking shape on Capitol Hill.
"Courts already have declared serious doubts about the legal authority for the rule. Now that it has become clear that the agency used illegal tactics to manufacture ill-informed support for the rule, Congress should act immediately to prohibit implementation of this rule, which is the product of an unlawful and misguided process.
"We applaud U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe for asking GAO to conduct this investigation. The GAO findings vindicate those, like the American Farm Bureau Federation, who have claimed all along that EPA's tactics advocating for this rule stepped past the bounds of proper agency rulemaking.
"EPA was focused only on promoting the rule rather than hearing good-faith concerns from a wide cross-section of Americans. The public deserves better when important matters of public policy are at stake."