The American Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural organizations are asking a Texas court to block enforcement of the Obama-era “waters of the U.S.” rule in the 26 states where courts have not already stayed its implementation. 

The groups' appeal followed a South Carolina judge's ruling Thursday striking down the Trump administration’s suspension of the rule, which was issued to delay implementation of the 2015 WOTUS rule until 2020 so the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers could finish writing a replacement. 

The South Carolina ruling, which applies nationwide, has the effect of putting the 2015 rule in effect in the 26 states not covered by stays issued by two other judges. The 26 states include California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

The farm groups already have a pending request to the Texas court to stay the WOTUS rule nationwide. 

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Because of the South Carolina decision, “a legally suspect regulation of immense practical importance has come into effect in a patchwork of 26 States,” the farm organizations said in a notice to the Texas court. 

The groups’ filing goes on to say that “the ability of plaintiffs’ members to plan their projects and organize their affairs is highly sensitive to the scope of the agencies’ regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Allowing the WOTUS Rule to come into effect in 26 states will prove enormously disruptive to their operations, and indeed to the entire national economy.”

The groups also intend to appeal the ruling by the South Carolina judge, who said the Trump administration had improperly accelerated imposition of the WOTUS suspension rule by not taking public comment as required by the Administrative Procedures Act. 

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