Federal Court Grants Wisconsin’s Withdrawal from Case Challenging WOTUS Rule

May 3 2019

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul today announced the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted the State of Wisconsin’s request to withdraw from Georgia v. Wheeler, a case challenging a federal regulation defining the scope of protections under the Clean Water Act.


“We need to make our water cleaner,” said Attorney General Kaul. “By withdrawing from this lawsuit, we’ve ended the State of Wisconsin’s involvement in an effort to weaken the protection of our water.”


The Clean Water Act generally prohibits discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States. The term “waters of the United States” therefore defines the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Act, and the term has been subject to decades of litigation. In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a regulation defining the term (the “WOTUS Rule”) to more clearly define the Clean Water Act’s jurisdictional reach.


In 2015, Wisconsin was among a group of states that challenged the WOTUS Rule. The challengers claimed that the rule exceeded the federal government’s authority and sought to invalidate the rule.


On April 29, 2019, DOJ filed a motion to withdraw from that rule challenge, and on May 2, the court granted Wisconsin’s request.


The court’s order is attached.