Montana Ranches Now Under Biden’s Harmful WOTUS Rule MSGA Shares Disappointment in Court’s Decision

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HELENA, Mont. (March 21, 2023) – The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) shares its strong disappointment in a decision by the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas to deny the nationwide preliminary injunction that would have halted the Biden administration’s harmful Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule from taking effect that was filed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and its partners on January 18, 2023.

Over the weekend, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas rejected the request for a preliminary injunction that would have halted the Biden administration’s latest WOTUS rule from taking effect. Instead, the court granted an injunction that protects producers in Texas and Idaho, but still allows the WOTUS rule to take legal effect for producers in the 48 other states, including Montana.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the latest WOTUS rule at the end of 2022 and this decision means ephemeral features and isolated features may be subject to federal jurisdiction, and activities like stock pond construction and grassed waterway maintenance may require Clean Water Act permits. 

MSGA has been an active opponent of the Biden administration’s rule. Last year, MSGA’s Executive Vice President, Raylee Honeycutt, represented Montana on the EPA and U.S. Department of the Army (Army) regional roundtable on WOTUS and stated, “Since the settlement of the West, and particularly in Montana, ranchers have been responsible, environmentally conscious land managers in partnership with our state, and continually work to improve that relationship with the environment. Many Montana cattle producers are multi-generational, these families have dealt with every iteration of the Clean Water Act jurisdiction since its passage in 1972. Now, after nearly 50 years of a jurisdictional tug-of-war, regulated stakeholders want nothing more than consistency in the Act’s application. Cattle producers need a practical and interpretable WOTUS definition that provides certainty and clarity.”

This week’s decision continues to give producers uncertainty and again show the jurisdiction tug-of-war and challenges Montana producers face.

The WOTUS rule took effect in 48 States on March 20, 2023.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is a grassroots membership organization and is the trusted voice of cattle ranchers. With over 135 years of history, MSGA advocates and ensures cattle ranching remains relevant, safe and a sustainable way of life for generations to come.


Keni Reese

Director of Marketing & Communications


[email protected]

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