Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Schmidt files lawsuit asking court to overturn ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today that he has joined eight other state attorneys general in a lawsuit asking a federal court to overturn new water regulations that could significantly extend the regulatory reach of the federal government onto Kansas private property.

The regulations, known generally as the “Waters of the U.S.” rule, would extend the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach into small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches and land developments.

This new rule would have significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks such as digging ditches, building fences or spraying fertilizers.

“Congress never intended for the federal government to regulate ditches or farm ponds,” Schmidt said. “This regulation grossly exceeds the authority granted to federal agencies by the Clean Water Act – authority that rightfully belongs to the states and that is limited by private property rights protected by the Constitution.”

In the complaint filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, the attorneys general of Kansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin argue the final rule put forward by the EPA and Corps of Engineers violates the Clean Water Act, the Administrative Procedure Act and the U.S. Constitution, and usurps the states’ primary responsibility for the management, protection and care of intrastate waters and lands.

The complaint asks a federal judge to declare the rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the agencies from enforcing it. It also asks the judge to order the agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law and honors state authority.

A copy of the complaint is available at http://1.usa.gov/1U4xXLR .