President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency made one of its biggest power grabs last month when it used its fiat authority to essentially claim jurisdiction over any body of water bigger than a driveway puddle.
While the unprecedented expansion of the EPA’s authority may have sounded like a good idea to the president, it hasn’t sat well with the states. Nine states filed a federal lawsuit over the expanded jurisdiction in Savannah, Ga., on Tuesday, joining 18 states that had already filed a case.
The lawsuit claimed the EPA violated the Clean Water Act, as well as other regulations and Supreme Court decisions, with the power grab.
The nine states filing on Tuesday were South Carolina, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Wisconsin.
They will join Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana, which filed suit on Monday.
Under the new rules, dubbed “Waters of the United States,” the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will now have federal jurisdiction over small streams, ponds and tributaries.
While the Clean Water Act gave the federal government only the expressed power to regulate navigable waters, the EPA has also assumed responsibility for some larger tributaries that feed into the navigable waters.
The new plan would drastically change that, making the federal government responsible for bodies of water as small as drainage ditches and ponds on private property.
“The results of this rule will carry a tremendous cost to our state, our economy, and our families,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement. South Carolina was spearheading the latest round of lawsuits against the EPA and the federal government, according to The Hill.
“The EPA’s proposed expansion would bring many roadside ditches, small ponds on family farms, water features on golf courses, and storm water systems under extremely burdensome federal regulation,” Wilson added.
While the states have filed individually, the lawsuits will likely be dealt with as a whole, as they all made the same complaint.