A federal district court on Friday prohibited the federal government from implementing the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in Kansas.
“Our goal was to lock a deadbolt on the door for Kansas to make sure that if either the political flavor changes in Washington or if some of these other legal challenges around the country that are objecting to the Trump administration’s decision to delay the implementation of WOTUS were to prevail, if either of those were to happen, still the door in Kansas would stay locked and WOTUS, the Waters of the U.S. rule would not go into effect,” said Kansas
Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
Kansas filed a lawsuit seeking to block the implementation of the rule the day after it was announced, but the litigation was delayed by a legal dispute over jurisdiction that ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier this year, Kansas won the jurisdiction argument in the Supreme Court, but in the interim the Trump Administration assumed office and announced it was delaying WOTUS until 2020 with the intention to revise it.
“It’s an important security measure,” said Schmidt. “It should give some predictability and stability to everybody who has been relying on not having to comply with WOTUS.”
Federal District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood rejected the federal government’s assertion that its delay of WOTUS until 2020 made the injunction unnecessary.
“When Congress passed the Clean Water Act way back in the 1970s it drew a line and said the federal government is going to regulate things necessary for water quality in the Waters of the United States, but not in other areas,” said Schmidt. “That line has moved and moved over the years, until finally, the Obama administration took the position, as I’ve often characterized it, that the waters of the U.S. stop at any point a raindrop hits the ground and starts running
downhill. Literally, every inch of the state of Kansas would have been subject to Federal regulation.”
Now, that regulation has effectively been stopped until the case can be decided on the merits or entirely disposed of.