TOPEKA – (July 29, 2015) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday joined 28 other attorneys general in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to delay the August 28 implementation of the final regulation regarding the “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States” by at least nine months to allow for proper judicial review.
Last month, Schmidt joined eight other state attorneys general in a lawsuit asking a federal court to overturn new water regulations that could significantly extend the regulatory reach of the federal government onto Kansas private property. The complaint asks a federal judge to declare the rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the agencies from enforcing it. It also asks the judge to order the agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law and honors state authority. A total of 31 states are challenging the rule in five different lawsuits, all of which are still pending.
The regulations, known generally as the “Waters of the U.S.” Rule (WOTUS Rule), would extend the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach into small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches and land developments. This new rule would have 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.
In the letter sent to the administrator of the EPA and assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, the attorneys general said, ”Although the states promptly filed their actions challenging the WOTUS Rule, it will necessarily take some time for the courts to resolve the merits of these various cases with their different claims. Under the current schedule set by the EPA and Army Core of Engineers, the WOTUS Rule will become effective well before the courts have the opportunity to resolve the merits of the significant pending challenges to this Rule. … Given the gravity of the Constitutional issues implicated by the states’ claims and to avoid these hardships, the courts should be granted an opportunity to resolve the pending challenges to the agencies’ new WOTUS Rule. A federal regulation of this scope and significance demands a thorough judicial review before imposing costly and disruptive burdens on the states and their citizens.”
A copy of the letter is available at http://1.usa.gov/1OBPRAV.