Judge sinks bid to block Biden WOTUS rule

By Miranda Willson | 06/20/2024 01:37 PM EDT

Environmentalists fear the case could eventually strip protections from an even wider swath of wetlands after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA.

Wetlands are visible near a water tower.

Wetlands are visible near the water tower in Oak Island, North Carolina, on Jan. 29, 2023. Karl B DeBlaker/AP

This story was updated at 2:14 p.m. EDT.

A federal judge this week denied a North Carolina landowner’s attempt to stop enforcement of the Biden administration’s wetlands regulation, saying that the lawsuit challenging the policy was “unlikely” to succeed.

Commercial fisherman and business owner Robert White is suing EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers over the agencies’ efforts to regulate wetlands on his property that are adjacent to a creek and a river. The case has drawn the attention of environmental advocates, who say that it could result in a wide swath of wetlands losing federal protections.


White requested that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina bar the agencies from claiming oversight of the wetlands on his land while the case is pending. But Judge Terrence Boyle, a Reagan appointee, denied the landowner’s request for a preliminary injunction Thursday and appeared skeptical of White’s broader legal argument.