The hotly contested WOTUS rule would have given the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps authority over all waterways.
It would have meant landowners, farmers, ranchers and local governments would require additional permits for projects and uses affecting tributaries, wetlands, ponds, lakes and even ditches.
The latest decision means the rule will only become law in certain states. North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico have demonstrated they will face irreparable harm if the rule were implemented and so are exempt.
Organisations including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) have long disputed the rule, claiming it was federal overreach. In addition, 29 states launched legal bids to have the rule thrown out, claiming it would infringe on their sovereignty.
In a statement, NCBA President Philip Ellis welcomed the federal court ruling. “America’s cattlemen and women applaud the decision of the federal judge in North Dakota to block EPA’s waters of the United States rule.
“EPA’s rule is nothing more than an attempt to put more land and water under federal jurisdiction, blatantly disregarding private property rights.
“Over the last year and a half, the agency continually ignored the concerns of the US Army Corps of Engineers, farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country, to the point of calling the concerns of cattle producers ludicrous.
In a statement released shortly after the decision was made, an EPA spokesperson said the North Dakota ruling only holds for 13 states that applied for the injunction and that they plan to implement the rule in all others on Friday. “In all other respects, the rule is effective on 28 August,” EPA said in a statement.