Friday, February 17, 2023 - 03:24pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum issued the following statement today regarding a lawsuit filed in North Dakota challenging the Biden administration’s new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

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

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers published the final WOTUS rule in the Federal Register on Jan. 18. It repeals the definition of WOTUS that the Trump administration adopted in 2020 in its Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The final rule takes effect 60 days after it is published, unless legal action delays it. North Dakota is a co-leader in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.

“This overreaching rule would wrongly classify nearly every stream, pond and wetland as a federally managed water, creating confusion and driving up costs for consumers by unlawfully restricting the activities of farmers, ranchers, builders and landowners across the country, especially in North Dakota,” Burgum said. “We’re grateful for Attorney General Wrigley’s successful efforts to get this lawsuit filed in North Dakota, as our many wetlands and waterways make our state particularly susceptible to this misguided rule. In North Dakota, we continue to exercise our state’s authority to protect our own waters from pollution, and as a result we have some of the cleanest air and water in the nation.”

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.