Indiana will join eight other states that have challenged an Environmental Protection Agency rule redefining streams, creeks, ponds and wetlands as waters of the United States.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement Monday the rule EPA finalized on June 29 could harm Indiana’s agricultural economy. The proposed final rule would apply to small non-navigable waters including ponds, drainage ditches and intermittent streams to occur only with heavy rain.
Zoeller said under the new rule, agricultural operations that discharge water or wastewater could be forced to obtain expensive federal permits or face civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day for the potential water runoff.
Indiana joins nine states that filed a legal challenge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, alleging the “Waters of the United States” or WOTUS Rule exceeds Congress’s Commerce Clause authority and violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Zoeller said the rule encroaches on state authority to regulate small waters within its borders. “While we are mindful of environmental concerns, this type of EPA overreach and intrusion into state sovereignty has become all too frequent, and the states have no choice but to seek redress in the federal court,” Zoeller said in a statement. Last week, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Michigan v. EPA case that the agency exceeded its authority by drafting new pollution-control regulations under the Clean Air Act without considering costs.