A long battle with the federal government over water regulations seems to have ended.
Attorney General Doug Peterson joined 12 of his colleagues in filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the United States rule.
“This case is a good snapshot of a federal agency exceeding its statutory authority,” Peterson tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Peterson’s complaint ran on two tracks. One, that the EPA exceeded its Congressional authority. Two, that the rule encroached on the authority of the states.
The real controversy in Nebraska, though, arose over fears that the EPA would have jurisdictions over the streams and creeks which flow through farms and ranches, requiring farmers and ranchers to get permission from the federal government before being able to make developments on their land.
The initials of the rule, WOTUS, became a by-word for most agricultural groups, which strongly opposed the rule.
Waters of the United States was proposed jointly by the EPA and the United States Army Corps of Engineers under the Obama Administration. EPA officials justified the rule, stating that to adequately enforce waterway regulations, federal officials had to have jurisdiction over headwaters, often the smaller waterways which feed navigable rivers.
The Trump Administration has rescinded the rule, returning to the original language of the Clean Water Act.
“To return the primary authority for most waterways – the smaller waterways not the navigable waters of the U.S. – back to the states to properly maintain the environmental quality of those areas,” according to Peterson.
The Clean Water Act gives the EPA authority to regulate navigable waters in the United States.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]