According to the Navigable Waters Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate America’s navigable waterways. This protection is important for interstate commerce and has long been up held by the courts. However, according to the Obama Administration the act needed reinterpreted and has concluded that EPA actually has a far greater jurisdiction than it ever realized.
Suddenly, and without congressional input, the EPA revised their definition of “Waters Of The United States” (WOTUS) to expand authority not only over bodies of water that are large enough to transport goods by boat, but also those small enough to comprise the majority of the rivers and farmland in the United States.
That’s a lot of land in the U.S. Hundreds of millions of acres. And it’s already raising serious concerns for landowners.
Though recently a beneficial verdict for landowners happened, a federal court on August 27, blocked the EPA’s revised WOTUS regulations from going into effect in 13 states who joined the case. Ohio was not among those lucky 13, though Attorney General DeWine has reason to be enthused by the decision. Ohio joined a lawsuit with a group of states that filed a similar challenge just a few months ago and many believe the legal ground is fertile enough for another beneficial decision to block the rule, this time including land within Ohio’s boarders.
Here is AG DeWine’s recent statement on the court decision: “I applaud the federal court in North Dakota for reaching the right result. The new rule is a vast overreach of federal authority and should be immediately rescinded.” You and your business can tell Congress to stop the EPA’s WOTUS rule by clicking here. For a copy of the business coalition letter the Ohio Chamber joined to oppose the expansion of WOTUS jurisdiction click here.
The Ohio Chamber’s amicus brief will be submitted later this week.