Indiana Joins Lawsuit Challenging EPA Water Rule

Jul 6, 2015

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the EPA's new water rules intrude on state sovereignty.
Credit Courtesy / Office of the Attorney General

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the Hoosier State will join a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water rule.  Zoeller says he’s concerned about the potential cost to the state’s agricultural industry.

The EPA recently finalized a rule broadening the definition of “waters of the United States” – that is, which bodies of water fall under federal regulation.  The term would now include small bodies of water, including streams, ponds, and drainage ditches.  Regulating those types of small waterways has always been left up to the states. 

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the new rule represents significant federal intrusion on state sovereignty, while both U-S Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly have expressed concern about the potential cost to farmers. 

But Hoosier Environmental Council Water Policy Director Kim Ferraro says she doesn’t think Hoosier farmers and businesses will incur new costs. 

Ferraro paints the pushback as politically motivated.

“We’re seeing industries and state governments that have Big Ag or other big industries that they’re trying to protect push back against all sorts of EPA regulations that are very clearly needed to protect public health and the environment,” Ferraro says. “And I think this is just one more of those.”

Nine states filed a challenge to the EPA rule last week; Indiana will join that suit.