Hoeven Statement on Court Blocking Waters of the U.S. Rule Nationwide

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court blocking implementation of the Waters of the U.S. rule nationwide while the courts determine its legality. In August, U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson issued an injunction blocking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing the WOTUS rule in North Dakota and 12 additional states that had challenged the rule. Today’s ruling blocks implementation nationwide:

“Today’s court ruling is a big win and builds on the U.S. District Court for North Dakota’s finding that the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule may be an unconstitutional regulatory overreach. This blocks implementation of this rule nationwide while litigation continues. This is a good step in stopping this burdensome regulation that would have real impacts not only on farmers and ranchers, but also on small businesses in North Dakota and across the nation. While the courts continue their work, we will continue the effort in Congress to either defund or deauthorize this onerous rule.”

Hoeven has been working to eliminate the Waters of the U.S. regulation through the appropriations process and also in separate legislation, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. Hoeven worked to include a provision in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill in June that prohibits the EPA from implementing the regulation. The senator also joined a bipartisan group of farm-state colleagues to reintroduce the legislation that would rescind the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and require the EPA to start the process over with more input from stakeholders. The Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which is being led by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) this year, is similar to legislation Hoeven cosponsored in 2014.

Last year, Hoeven worked to defund the Interpretive Rule, which enabled farmers and ranchers to operate this year, as they have in the past, under the Clean Water Act’s exemption from having to get a permit before practicing normal agricultural activities like plowing, seeding and minor drainage.