Judge Denies Request to Block New WOTUS

"Were the court tasked with the question of whether the new rule represents wise environmental policy or the best approach to protecting water resources that could be supported by scientific data, the result might be different," Seeborg wrote. ( Farm Journal )

A federal judge in San Francisco on Friday denied an attempt a group of Democratic attorneys general made to halt implementation of the Trump administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg concluded that the blue state attorneys general didn't have enough of a chance of winning their challenge to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to warrant a preliminary injunction or a delay in the rule's implementation, according to Politico. 

"Were the court tasked with the question of whether the new rule represents wise environmental policy or the best approach to protecting water resources that could be supported by scientific data, the result might be different," Seeborg wrote. "The court’s narrow role, however, is only to evaluate whether the rule has been adopted in compliance with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act. In that context, plaintiffs have not made a sufficient showing to support an injunction or an order delaying the effective date of the new rule."

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule replaces the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule and defines federal water jurisdiction while continuing to protect water quality, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).  The rule will make water and land protection, management and planning more efficient and effective by drawing clearer lines between areas subject to federal versus state jurisdiction and clarifying that usually dry areas should no longer be considered federally regulated waters, they say.

“Farmers and ranchers care about clean water and preserving the land, which are essential to producing healthy food and fiber and ensuring future generations can do the same,” says Zippy Duvall, president of AFBF. “That’s why we support the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.”

The new rule will be implemented on Monday.

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