A federal judge in North Dakota on Wednesday temporarily blocked a federal rule in 24 states, including Iowa, that is intended to protect thousands of small streams, wetlands and other waterways throughout the nation.
U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland in Bismarck halted the regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the states, most of which are led by Republicans. The regulations were finalized in December 2022, repealing a rule implemented during President Donald Trump's administration but thrown out by federal courts.
Opponents of the regulations, which define which “waters of the United States,” often referred to as WOTUS, are protected by the Clean Water Act, have called the rules an example of federal overreach and argued they would unfairly burden farmers and ranchers.
In addition to Iowa, the preliminary injunction affects Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. An injunction was previously issued that halted the rules in Texas and Idaho.