AG files suit to block EPA's 'Waters of the United States' rule
BATON ROUGE - Attorney General Buddy Caldwell filed suit Monday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, asking a federal court to block the Obama administration's "Waters of the United States" rule.
The "Waters of the United States" rule would significantly expanding federal authority under the Clean Water Act, and some Louisiana landowners say the rule could jeopardize their private property rights.
"Our farm ponds and drainage ditches, even our backyards, could be subject to costly and burdensome federal regulation under this absurd rule set forth by the EPA," Caldwell said. "We are confident that the courts will recognize this as an illegal power grab and will prevent the federal government from intervening in state matters. This rule would require the states to spend our scarce tax dollars regulating dry creek beds, for example."
According to the Attorney General's Office, the Clean Water Act currently grants federal regulatory authority over waterways able to be navigated by ships and boats. The new rule would expand that existing authority to include large areas that could potentially connect the current navigable waters in the event of a storm.
The new rule would require the impacted states to establish new water quality standards for the newly regulated waters which could include ditches and potholes, according to the lawsuit. Landowners would also be required to engage in expensive and exhaustive test in seven parts in order to determine whether parts of or all of their property is subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act.
Caldwell joins two other Ags, Ken Paxton of Texas and Jim Hood of Mississippi, in the suit. They argue in the suit that the rule violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution and the federal Administrative Procedures Act, and that the rule infringes upon states' sovereignty rights granted under the 10th Amendment.