Court Exempts Iowa From 2015 WOTUS Rule

By Todd Neeley
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- Add Iowa to the list of now 28 states not under the jurisdiction of the 2015 waters of the United States rule thanks to a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota on Tuesday.

Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds asked the court for the injunction after a series of court rulings left Iowa on the list of states required to abide by WOTUS.

A South Carolina court recently ruled EPA violated the Administrative Procedures Act in finalizing a suspension rule that delayed WOTUS until 2020. As a result, the 2015 rule took effect in Iowa and a number of other states.

"Now, Iowa farmers and small-business owners will not be burdened by this federal overreach while we continue fighting to permanently end the WOTUS rule," Reynolds said in a news release.

As a result of this latest ruling, WOTUS is now on hold in 28 states: Iowa, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Dakota, Missouri, Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, Nebraska, Montana, Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming.

The 2015 rule now is in effect in 22 states: Illinois, California, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii, Delaware and Connecticut.

The North Dakota court is one of several district courts where WOTUS lawsuits were filed in 2015

An appeals court in Cincinnati had issued a national stay on the rule in 2015. The national stay ended when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled challenges to WOTUS belong in district courts.

Last week, a Texas court issued a temporary injunction against the WOTUS rule in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana after the Texas attorney general's office told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Galveston it was ready to appeal to a higher court.

On Aug. 20, agriculture groups led by the American Farm Bureau Federation filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. They are attempting to overturn the South Carolina district court ruling that threw out the EPA's rule to delay the implementation of the 2015 WOTUS rule by two years until 2020.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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