Missouri has filed a lawsuit challenging Obama Administration rules that Attorney General Josh Hawley says drastically expands federal power over farm and ranch land across Missouri and the nation. He says the rules in question expand the definition of “critical habitat” for endangered and threatened species.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley

Missouri joins 19 other states in the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“These sweeping regulations, adopted in the final days of the Obama Administration, are a startling power grab that could affect every farmer in Missouri,” says Hawley. “The rules are not authorized by law. They will hurt our farmers and our workers and cost Missouri jobs.”

The rules would permit the federal government to designate any land or area as “critical habitat” for endangered species if the government deemed the land might host an endangered species at a future date. Hawley says designating land as “critical habitat” imposes stringent controls on land use. The suit alleges that the Obama Administration unlawfully adopted the rules in violation of federal law.

“The Final Rules are an unlawful attempt to expand regulatory authority and control over State lands and waters and should be vacated and enjoined because they violate the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act,” the suit reads. “The Final Rules … trample upon the sovereign rights of the States as landowners and stewards of their natural resources.”

Hawley says Missourians are well equipped to manage natural resources, protect endangered species and he will not allow the federal government to unlawfully seize control of Missourians’ farms, ranches, and private property.