Judge Blocks WOTUS In Indiana, 10 Other States

Jun 13, 2018

Attorney General Curtis Hill approves of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia's decision to block the Waters of the United States rule or WOTUS in Indiana and 10 other states — Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.

A similar injuction was granted to 13 other states in 2015. 

WOTUS allows federal agencies to regulate “navigable waters.” But until the Obama administration, that wasn’t interpreted to include smaller water bodies that feed into larger ones — like streams and ponds. Some farmers worry the rule would put every small stream under the microscope, creating a lot of hassle and expense.

Indiana Attorney General Hill says WOTUS infringes on Indiana’s rights to regulate its own resources. He says the ruling is another fail-safe should other legal entanglements change. 

“And protect really farmers and homeowners from what’s been really an egregious exercise of the rule, notwithstanding the interest that we all have to make sure that we maintain clean water,” says Hill.

The recent ruling by a federal district court isn’t the only thing standing in the way of WOTUS. President Donald Trump’s administration has put the rule on hold for two years. 

This story has been updated.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.