JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has joined 22 other states in a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration over water regulations.
The state is pushing back on rules from the “Water of the United States,” a provision within the EPA’s Clean Water Act that some claim imposes no enforcement of water on any state, local, or tribal governments.
The EPA and United States Army announced the final revised definition of “Waters of the United States” last December. The rules were published to the Federal Register last January. The rule is set to take effect on March 20.
Bailey and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson spoke on the lawsuit Thursday, deeming the rules unconstitutional and part of federal overreach.
“This move was senseless because there’s a case pending before the United States Supreme Court that will likely interpret this statute and provide clarity for landowners and the EPA,” says Bailey.
“These rules raise more questions than they give answers for our farmers, ranchers and ruraler communities,” said Parson. “These new rules are unclear and unacceptable for Missourians trying to make a living.”
The lawsuit contends that President Biden’s interpretation of WOTUS goes beyond the power Congress delegated in the Clean Water Act and raises serious constitutional concerns.
President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office that began the process of rolling back the Trump administration reforms. The new rule, approved Dec. 30, 2022, redefines “navigable waters” to include ponds, certain streams, ditches, and other bodies of water under the Clean Waters Act, as determined by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Bailey says the lawsuit intends for an injunction that could stop the rule from taking effect in March.
“We need to understand what the agency’s rule-making authority is before we jump to the rule,” said Bailey. “The Biden rule that came out on Dec. 30 is overly-board, it’s vague, and it leaves the determination as to whether waters or navigable or not to the subject of determination of unelected federal bureaucrats.”
Bailey assets that rule will affect farmers, who will now need permission from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to fill or dredge wetlands or waterways. Developers, miners and other property owners could be impacted too under the new rules.