American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall calls a second U.S. District Court ruling to halt the 2023 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule a win for farmers. Today’s ruling, out of North Dakota, stops implementation of the rule in 24 states. The first ruling, out of Texas, halted the rule in two states.

“This ruling reinforces our belief that the current WOTUS Rule is a clear case of government overreach. AFBF proudly stood with the 24 states involved and more than a dozen other organizations in this challenge and in backing the first successful court challenge on behalf of farmers and ranchers who simply want clear rules.

“Two District Courts have now acknowledged the new rule likely oversteps EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act. With the rule now on hold in more than half the country, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps should do the right thing by listening to our legitimate concerns and rewriting the rule to draw a bright line of jurisdiction.

“This isn’t just a philosophical dispute: farmers and ranchers in the remaining states are left with no clear way to determine where federal jurisdiction begins and ends on their own property. The rule creates a fuzzy, subjective assessment that’s unfair to landowners.

“Here’s the bottom line: clean water is important to all of us and farmers and ranchers certainly share the goal of caring for our natural resources – we depend on them for our livelihoods – all we’re asking for is a sensible rule that farmers can interpret without hiring a team of lawyers.”

The 24 states impacted by today’s ruling 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. Read today’s ruling here.

The first decision to halt the rule came from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on March 20, 2023. It stopped implementation of the rule in Texas and Idaho. Read the first ruling here. Read AFBF’s statement on the first ruling here.