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AG Marshall working to repeal federal control of state waters

Published: Jul. 5, 2017 at 8:31 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2017 at 8:36 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall's office announced Wednesday that he has joined 21 other state attorneys general in praising efforts to repeal the "Waters of the United States Rule."

The rule, known as the WOTUS Rule, began as a means for the federal government to assert its authority over state land that sometimes is covered by water. It was a move intended to help prevent pollution and development of waterways.

This includes normally dry channels, roadside ditches, isolated streams and even areas that are covered by water once every 100 years.

The 2015 rule drew national criticism, leading to the Sixth U.S. Court of Appeals granting a nationwide stay of the rule's enforcement just four months after its introduction.

In a joint statement from Marshall and his fellow attorneys general, the coalition praised the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to repeal the rule. This is what they had to say:

"We fully support the proposed rule signed by EPA Administrator Pruitt today as a significant step in the direction of withdrawing the unlawful WOTUS Rule.

"The WOTUS Rule asserts sweeping federal authority over usually dry channels, roadside ditches and isolated streams. The Rule also asserts federal authority over land covered by water only once every one hundred years.

"The Rule's broad assertion of authority unlawfully impinges on the States' traditional role as the primary regulators of land and water resources. The WOTUS Rule is unlawful under the Clean Water Act, U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and the U.S. Constitution.

"Our States won a nationwide stay blocking enforcement of the rule and allowing the new administration time to work on withdrawing the Rule.

"We look forward to EPA's final action withdrawing the WOTUS Rule and providing relief for our States and their citizens."

Along with 17 other states, Alabama led the way in repeal efforts by filing a motion against the EPA over the rule when it was first introduced back in 2015.

President Donald Trump also signed an executive order in February to counteract the WOTUS Rule, which called for steps to be taken to redefine what waters can be controlled by the federal government. In the meantime, the court's decision to grant a stay of enforcement remains in effect.

The following are the 22 states whose attorneys general are working to repeal the WOTUS Rule:

  • Alabama 

  • West Virginia 

  • Wisconsin 

  • Alaska 

  • Arkansas 

  • Georgia 

  • Indiana 

  • Kansas 

  • Louisiana 

  • Michigan 

  • Missouri 

  • Montana 

  • Nevada 

  • Ohio 

  • Oklahoma 

  • South Carolina 

  • South Dakota  

  • Tennessee 

  • Texas 

  • Utah 

  • Wyoming  

  • Commonwealth of Kentucky 

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