curtis-hill attorney general indianaIndiana Attorney General Curtis Hill joined a 17-state coalition this week to support farmers and other landowners by urging the Trump administration to adopt its own proposed replacement of the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The 2015 regulation sought to define properties subject to federal management based on whether they contained environmentally significant bodies of water.

The coalition, in comments filed late Monday, argued the Trump administration’s proposal would restore respect for the states’ traditional authority to protect local lands and water resources.

“Most Hoosiers, like most Americans, agree on the vital importance of conservation and protecting the environment,” Attorney General Hill said. “But the 2015 rule was an example of extreme federal overreach. Right here in Indiana, we have seen the federal government use this rule to target parcels that only got wet when it rained. Such designations enabled federal authorities to claim jurisdiction over property more appropriately controlled and regulated by Indiana and her citizens.”

The coalition believes the new rule will correct flaws in the 2015 regulation, which extended authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers far beyond what Congress intended and the Constitution permits.

The 2015 WOTUS rule, if implemented, would have taken jurisdiction over natural resources from states and asserted federal authority over almost any body of water, including roadside ditches, short-lived streams and many other areas where water may flow once every 100 years. Such overreach would impose unnecessary burdens on farmers and other landowners affected by the rule.

Indiana signed the West Virginia-led letter with attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.