The state of Indiana and the National Association of Home Builders have joined a massive lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers over the Waters of the U.S. rule the agency has recently implemented.
The rule came from a written interpretation of the Clean Water Act, and defined streams, creeks, ponds, and general wetlands as "waters of the United States," and by extension, territory that the agency has control over. It followed a series of requests from both the Supreme Court and Congress for the EPA to define what exact waterways were protected by the act to make both ruling cases and creating legislation easier processes.
Greg Zoeller, Indiana's attorney general, sees this interpretation as another instance of the EPA taking power away from the states and adding to its own regulatory might, describing this latest example as something that "has become all too frequent." His state joins 26 others, as well as a slew of industries impacted by increased environmental regulations.
Some plaintiffs have accused the EPA of meddling directly in the affairs of individual farmers, saying that by their definition, most, if not all agricultural endeavors would qualify for Clean Water Act protections. The EPA has responded by claiming that this is a strawman, and that, in actuality, only small waterways with "direct and significant" connections to larger, already protected bodies of water would qualify.
Because of how rapidly they can change, staying on top of and following EPA regulations can be difficult and time consuming. Hiring environmental consultants will help you better understand the latest trends and regulations, as well as find quick, cost effective ways to adjust your business to meet them.