TOPEKA – (June 27, 2017) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement today that it is beginning the process of withdrawing the unlawful “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Rule:
“Kansans have argued for years that the Obama administration’s WOTUS Rule was an unlawful overreach by the federal government that invaded state authority and offended private property rights. I applaud today’s efforts to begin withdrawing this rule, which multiple federal courts have agreed was unlawfully crafted and which we have successfully blocked by federal court order. Moving forward to formally repeal the WOTUS rule marks another step in returning traditional powers to the state, local governments and individual property owners.”
Last December, Schmidt and a bipartisan group of 24 state attorneys general and two other state officials urged the incoming Trump administration to rescind the WOTUS Rule, which currently is blocked by a federal court order while states, including Kansas, challenge its legality. In blocking the rule, the federal court found that the states are likely to prevail in their legal challenge.
The WOTUS rule, if it had taken effect, would have extended the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach into small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches and land developments. The rule would have had significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks such as digging ditches, building fences or spraying fertilizers.
On June 19, Schmidt joined 19 other state attorneys general in a letter urging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to expedite the agency’s review of the WOTUS rule. A copy of that letter is available at http://bit.ly/2uetwpk. Today’s EPA announcement is the result of that review.