Attorney General Laxalt Issues Statement Commending Formal Withdrawal of Waters of the United States Rule

June 27, 2017

Carson City, NV -   Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt issued the following statement after EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt published a formal withdrawal of the prior Administration's rule:

"I want to applaud Administrator Pruitt for taking this important first step by withdrawing this unlawful and harmful rule," said Laxalt. "I again urge the EPA to fully consider the comment letter filed by 20 state attorneys general and to incorporate those comments in preparing its new rule." 

On June 20, 2017, AG Laxalt and 19 other attorneys general sent a comment letter to Administrator Pruitt in response to the agency's request for comments on the creation of a new rule. The letter urged the EPA in its new rulemaking process to adopt a definition of "Waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act that preserves the important role of the States in protecting the nation's water resources.

The former "Waters of the United States" rule, issued by the EPA in June 2015, purported to expand federal powers over State and local waters well beyond what Congress originally intended when it limited those powers to "navigable waters." Shortly after the rule was issued, AG Laxalt together with a bipartisan coalition of states sued to invalidate that rule. In August 2015, a U.S. District Court granted a preliminary injunction preventing the rule from taking effect in Nevada and other states. As a result of continued efforts in the multistate challenge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued another order halting the implementation of the rule nationwide, noting that the rule had "pervasive nationwide impact" in expanding federal power over state and local waters across the nation.

The comment letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency is attached.