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March 23, 2018

Media Contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem applauds the Order issued today by U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice Senechal granting North Dakota’s request to proceed with its challenge to the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Rule.

“The WOTUS Rule would greatly and unlawfully expand the federal government’s authority over North Dakota’s land and water resources and vastly limit legitimate state authority to control water pollution,” said Stenehjem.

Stenehjem leads a coalition of twelve states that obtained the first preliminary injunction against the WOTUS Rule in 2015, issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. In late January, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld North Dakota’s position on the jurisdictional issue, holding that challenges to the WOTUS Rule must be brought in federal district courts, and not in federal courts of appeals. Despite the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, the U.S. asked the District Court in North Dakota to “stay” the case and not allow the state’s challenge to go forward. Magistrate Judge Senechal rejected that request and granted North Dakota’s right to continue with its challenge.

“This is a major victory for North Dakota and our economy,” said Stenehjem. “Our long and tireless efforts to oppose this rule have seen one victory after another. I appreciate the efforts the EPA is making to discard or limit the rule, but environmental groups are suing to keep them from doing that. Our best course is to soldier on with our fight to have this unconstitutional and burdensome rule scrapped for good. It is vitally important for North Dakota to obtain a final ruling in its case declaring that the WOTUS Rule is legally invalid and permanently enjoining implementation of the Rule,” he continued.

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Read the Order Lifting Stay

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