WOTUS Rule is now in effect in 22 states
A lot has happened since the summer of 2015 when the Obama Administration finalized its “Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule.” The WOTUS rule is highly controversial because it radically expands federal authority over private property across the country. And thanks to a federal judge in South Carolina, the Obama Rule is now in effect in 22 states.
In response, NFIB is moving quickly to bring relief for affected landowners.
The good news is that half the country can breathe easy, as two separate federal courts have already issued orders prohibiting the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing the WOTUS Rule. First, a federal district court in North Dakota blocked the Rule in a handful of states in 2015. And later a federal court in Georgia blocked the Rule in several other states. Here is a breakdown:
• States where the WOTUS Rule has been blocked and is NOT in effect: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
• States where the WOTUS Rule is in effect: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
Now NFIB is asking a federal district court in Oklahoma to block the Rule throughout the entire country—to bring relief for our members nationwide. Click here to see the run-down of what has happened with NFIB’s WOTUS lawsuit, as well as developments from the Trump Administration.
View NFIB’s latest comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of the Army.
NFIB is fighting to stop this regulatory land-grab, but we need your help.
President Trump issued an executive order on February 28, 2017, aimed at eliminating the controversial and economically damaging Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
The executive order paves the way for the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Agencies) to begin a new rulemaking process to dispose of, or considerably revise, the expansive rule finalized by the Agencies in June 2015.
What does the executive order do?
- The new executive order, Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the “Waters of the United States” Rule, instructs the Agencies to review the rule in light of the president’s position that it is harmful to the economy.
- Upon completion of this review, the Agencies will issue a proposed rule “rescinding or revising” the June 2015 rule.
- The executive order also directs the Agencies to consider defining “waters of the United States” consistent with an opinion written by former Justice Antonin Scalia in a 2006 Supreme Court ruling regarding this issue.
- This definition is likely to be far less expansive than the June 2015 rule and closer to defining these waters as those that are navigable.
- Lastly, the executive order addresses current litigation regarding the June 2015 rule, in which NFIB sued the Agencies, by directing the Department of Justice to seek a pause in the litigation while the Agencies conduct their review.
How will this executive order help small businesses?
- NFIB strongly opposed the WOTUS rule since its proposal in April 2014. We heard from countless members concerned about the rule’s burdensome overreach and harmful economic impacts.
- The June 2015 rule failed to adequately consider the rule’s impact on small businesses, as required by law. This failure underpinned NFIB’s lawsuit against the Agencies.
- NFIB will be actively engaged in the new regulatory process to ensure the rule is not overly burdensome and the Agencies adequately consider the rule’s clear impact on small businesses.