Farm Progress

Court issues another blow to WOTUS

Controversial rule now blocked in 27 states.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

April 24, 2023

2 Min Read
Ditch with water through a field
Getty Images

Another day, another ruling against the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States rule. This time the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals issued a stay on enforcing the rule in Kentucky until May 10. That means WOTUS is now the law of the land in only 23 states.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron says the ruling stops the Biden administration from enforcing what he considers to be a burdensome rule.

“This is an important win for Kentuckians, especially our farmers, who were being unnecessarily burdened by these new restrictions,” Cameron says. “We are grateful to the court and will be working to make this ruling permanent in the weeks and months ahead.”

A federal judge had previously denied a request by the State of Kentucky and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to issue an injunction against WOTUS. The State and Chamber then asked the appellate court to issue a stay pending their appeal.

In their ruling, Circuit Court Judges Ralph Guy, Raymond Kethledge and John Bush said they granted the stay because the federal government failed to identify any particular interest in immediate enforcement of WOTUS.

“Given the circumstances, an administrative stay is necessary to preserve the status quo and to provide us with the opportunity to give reasoned consideration to the plaintiff’s motion for an injunction pending appeal,” the judges said in their ruling.

This is the latest in a series of legal blows against WOTUS. In March, a federal court judge issued an injunction halting the rule in Texas and Idaho. On April 12, a North Dakota District Court Judge issued an injunction against the law in 24 additional states.

While multiple lawsuits continue to make their way through various courts, all eyes remain on the Supreme Court and its ruling in the Sacket v. EPA case. That ruling is expected by early summer. Many observers believe the court’s decision could significantly limit EPA’s regulatory authority.

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WOTUS

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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