News & Resources

Navigable Waters Protection Rule Takes Effect in 49 States

July 2, 2020

The new Waters of the United States rule, now known as the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, on June 22 took effect in 49 states. But even before the rule had taken effect, there were already several organizations and states bringing court cases against it.

One lawsuit was brought by 17 states in the Northern District of California requesting an injunction to block the rule from taking effect. In a win for the rule and for dairy farmers, this request was denied June 19. However, just hours later, a district court judge issued a preliminary injunction for only the state of Colorado, which the Department of Justice will now appeal. NMPF was pleased with the ruling in California; still, more lawsuits are expected, making it likely that a patchwork of different rules may develop, as has long been the case with navigable-waters rules.

NMPF has long battled to prevent and Water of the U.S. rule from overreaching and is pleased with the new Navigable Waters rule. The new rule establishes the scope of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act, narrowing Federal jurisdiction. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters and provides specific exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated.