MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, along with West
Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, led a 25-state coalition in support of
permanently rescinding language used in the 2015 Waters of the United States
The coalition filed its letter Wednesday as part of the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) ongoing review of the WOTUS rule. It encourages the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to preserve the states’ role in protecting water resources by fully eliminating the Obama-era rule and enforcing pre-existing rules until more concise language can be adopted.
“The 2015 WOTUS Rule also did not give sufficient consideration to the extent to
which States protect water resources outside the Clean Water Act’ss jurisdiction,”
Attorney General Schimel wrote in leading the coalition. “As a result, the Agencies
improperly expanded their own jurisdiction under the 2015 WOTUS Rule, to the
detriment of the States, and placed onerous permitting requirements on landowners who had no expectation that their properties contained ‘waters of the United States.’”
The Obama-era regulation, if implemented, would have taken jurisdiction over
natural resources from states and put it in the hands of federal agencies. This
included almost any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year
floodplains, and roadside ditches.
Previously, the states were also successful in winning a nationwide stay that blocked enforcement of the rule and proved crucial in providing time for a new administration to reconsider the rule.
Wisconsin and West Virginia signed the letter with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona,
Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan,
Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.