Attorneys general in 24 states filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration's Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday over a new water rule that would limit farmers' and landowners' ability to make use of their land, Fox News Digital reported.
The suit accused the EPA and the United States Army Corps of Engineers of "pushing the States aside and seizing control over the nation's water management."
The Biden administration's Waters of the United States rule, which was introduced in December and is scheduled to be implemented in March, would reinterpret what waterways in the country are federally protected and, therefore, subject to regulation under the 1972 Clean Water Act.
"The Agencies have sought to expand their own authority by broadly defining 'waters of the United States,' a key jurisdictional provision in the CWA," the lawsuit stated
The suit explained that the definition of "waters of the United States" is used to determine the scope of "navigable waters," which the EPA's new rule seeks to redefine to include ponds, certain streams, ditches, and other bodies of water.
"If 'WOTUS' is defined more broadly, then more waters and land are subject to rigorous federal permitting requirements, potential criminal penalties for discharges, and much more," the lawsuit claimed.
The states accused the agencies of attempting to redefine WOTUS "in an unlawfully aggressive way" that violates constitutional rights for "ambiguous environmental benefits."
The lawsuit explained that if the rule was left in place, "ranchers, farmers, miners, homebuilders, and other landowners across the country will struggle to undertake even the simplest of activities on their own property without fear of drawing the ire of the federal government."
The 24 states taking legal action against the agencies include West Virginia, North Dakota, Georgia, Iowa, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
The states requested that the court intervene and prevent the "improper federal power grab over state waters" by setting the rule aside as unlawful.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged the Supreme Court to clearly define WOTUS to ensure state waters "are not subject to the whims of unelected bureaucrats."
"This new final rule is a decades-long effort by the EPA to regulate purely intrastate waters without the explicit consent of Congress," Morrisey said. "This is yet another attempt from unelected bureaucrats to expand their own authority by broadly defining Waters of the United States."
An EPA spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the agency could not comment on pending litigation.
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