Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 12:20 pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum issued the following statement today after U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland granted a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation or enforcement of the Biden administration’s new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

North Dakota was one of 23 states that joined West Virginia in February in bringing a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, asking a federal judge to declare the new WOTUS rule unlawful and vacate it.

“Today’s decision by Judge Hovland rightly blocks the Biden administration’s overreaching rule that would unlawfully extend federal jurisdiction to nearly every stream, pond and wetland in North Dakota. This rule would create confusion and restrict activities for farmers, ranchers and other landowners while driving up costs for consumers,” Burgum said. “North Dakota has some of the cleanest air and water in the nation because we responsibly develop our natural resources and properly exercise our state’s authority to protect our own waters from pollution.”

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers published the final WOTUS rule in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, repealing the definition of WOTUS that the Trump administration adopted in 2020 in its Navigable Waters Protection Rule. North Dakota was a co-leader in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.

The 24 states involved in the lawsuit are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. A federal judge previously granted an injunction blocking the new WOTUS rule in Idaho and Texas as well.