Court agrees to WOTUS injunction hearing

Preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for afternoon of Aug. 21 in North Dakota on waters of the U.S. rule.

A district has agreed to hold a preliminary injunction hearing Aug. 21 at 1:30 p.m. in Fargo, N.D. regarding the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers “Waters of the United States” rule.

Attorneys general from 13 states asked the Federal District Court Judge Ralph Erickson in Fargo for a preliminary injunction to delay the effective date of the rule which is set to go into effect Aug. 28.

The North Dakota court is currently involved in a complex civil trial expected to last through Aug. 28, but informed trial counsel that it had other matters to attend to and has carved out the afternoon to allow the parties in this case an opportunity to be heard on the preliminary injunction motion.

If the parties stipulate to a stay, the court would be willing to reschedule the hearing for sometime in October. Without a stipulation, the hearing will take place as scheduled, the court order said.

In a release from North Dakota attorney general General Wayne Stenehjem, it explained states are seeking an injunction to maintain the status quo while the courts have the opportunity to address the serious legal failings of the WOTUS Rule. This is particularly appropriate because, as even the Corps’ own staff has noted in memos released to Congress earlier this summer, the rule is “not likely to survive judicial review in federal courts.”

“The rule is perhaps the most controversial and widely objectionable rule that would usurp state and local control over vast reaches of water in North Dakota and across the nation,” said Stenehjem. “It is an unnecessary and unlawful power grab by the federal government that will do nothing to increase water quality in North Dakota. It will only burden landowners, ranchers and farmers,” he continued.

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