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23-State Coalition Lawsuit to Block Changes to New WOTUS Rule
USAgNet - 06/18/2020

Attorney General Cameron announced Wednesday that he has joined a 23-state coalition to protect Kentuckians from an attempt by plaintiffs in California to reinstate overly burdensome Obama-era water rules that would greatly expand federal authority over Kentucky's land and water resources.

"Kentuckians should not be saddled with costly fees and regulatory requirements from the federal government associated with using our own resources," said ameron. "By joining this coalition, we are protecting the ability of the Commonwealth to regulate our lands and waters and preventing states like California and New York from trying to re-institute Obama-era environmental regulations."

On June 1, the 23-state coalition filed a motion to persuade a federal district judge to uphold the Trump Administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which protects Kentucky's role as the primary regulator of the state's land and water. Under the rule, the state of Kentucky, instead of the federal government, is primarily responsible for preventing, reducing, and eliminating pollution, as well as planning the development and use of the state's lands and water resources.

The motion was filed in response to a challenge brought by a separate group of attorneys general, led by New York and California, which seeks to set aside the Trump Administration's rule and re-establish the Obama-era rule, requiring costly federal regulation for a vast majority of the nation's water resources.

If successful, the challenge would require Kentucky farmers, developers, homeowners, and landowners to obtain a federal permit, a process that often takes years and costs tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, before developing or using their property if the land includes a protected water feature.

Kentucky's coalition contends that the Obama-era rule overextended the authority of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers beyond what Congress intended and the Constitution permits. The 23-state group also asserts that President Trump's Navigable Waters Protection Rule corrects flaws within the Obama-era regulation and strikes a proper balance between the roles of federal regulators and states in protecting land and water resources by respecting the primary responsibility and right of states to regulate their own resources.

In addition to filing a motion to safeguard the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the coalition also voiced their opposition to another motion that would keep the Trump Administration rule from going into effect anywhere in the country while the case moves forward. Both were filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Cameron is joined by attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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