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Judge rules Obama-era 'Waters of the United States' definition unlawful

August 26, 2019

by Scott Harn, Editor/Publisher

During the Obama administration, the EPA released a new definition of "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) that extended the agency's jurisdiction to all interstate waters, to tributaries of navigable waters, and to adjacent waters. This was done without the input of states or indiviuals because the agency failed to disclose their intent when they proposed the new definition, which is a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Ten states were party to a lawsuit against the federal government in 2018—Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.

US District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled the new WOTUS definition unlawful, concluding the agency violated the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedures Act by unlawfully extending their jurisdiction to waters outside their authority and without following proper procedures.

The ruling applies to the above-listed states but the Trump administration is already working to repeal and replace the WOTUS definition.

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