Attorney General Fox Goes to Federal Court to Protect Montana Property Owners

Attorney General Fox Goes to Federal Court to Protect Montana Property Owners

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox joined a 23-state effort this week to protect Montana property owners, farmers, and energy producers against an attempt to re-institute a disastrous Obama-era water rule.

The state attorneys general are asking a federal district judge to uphold the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which gives greater certainty to farmers and landowners with predictable and reasonable lines between waters subject to federal and state regulation.

“I led the states’ fight against President Obama’s overreaching Waters of the U.S. rule in 2015 and we stopped it before it ever took effect in Montana,” Fox said. “My team and I have worked with President Trump’s administration to develop this new water protection rule and we will work hard to defend it in court.”

The motion to intervene, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday, seeks to ensure the court considers Montana’s interests when it decides a challenge brought by a separate group of attorneys general led by New York and California.

Montana and its partners argue their states have significant interests in protecting their ability to administer waters within their borders, and that those interests will be unique and separate from those argued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its fellow defendants. The coalition also opposes a motion that would keep the new rule from going into effect anywhere in the country while the case moves forward.

Montana and its partners contend the Trump Administration’s rule strikes the proper balance between the roles of federal regulators and states in protecting land and water resources in that it shows respect for the primary responsibility and right of states to regulate their own water resources.

The Trump Administration’s rule also corrects flaws within the Obama-era regulation, which extended the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers far beyond what Congress intended and the Constitution permits.