A federal judge in North Dakota halted the implementation of EPA's and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule Thursday just hours before the rule was to take effect. U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson granted the injunction stating the states are likely to succeed on their claim in part because “it appears likely that the EPA has violated its Congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the Rule at issue” and that the EPA likely failed to comply with administrative procedures in crafting the rule.
“On balance, the harms favor the states,” Erickson wrote. “The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely. More importantly, delaying the rule will cause the agencies no appreciable harm. Delaying implementation to allow a full and final resolution on the merits is in the best interests of the public.”
However, the EPA in its arrogance says it will go ahead and apply the rule in the 37 states that were not party to the lawsuit.
While typical of this administration, the decision to go ahead with applying the rule in 37 states runs counter to precedent. Until now, when a federal agency was limited by a federal court from applying part of a rule or regulation, it would hold off on applying the rule entirely until the issue was settled. Even though the judge says there is "no appreciable harm" to EPA from waiting, apparently EPA can't wait to take away the property rights of millions landowners in 37 states.
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