The Supreme Court sends WOTUS to district courts |

The Supreme Court sends WOTUS to district courts

The Supreme Court ruled Jan. 23, that the proper jurisdiction for challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States or Clean Water Rule is in federal district court, not the circuit court level.

The ruling was an initial blow to the Trump administration, but the Obama era rule won’t go into effect because EPA intends to release a rewritten rule within a month, Politico reported.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, a major critic of the Obama administration’s rule, said the Supreme Court decision brought greater clarity to the situation, but that for farmers the situation remains uncertain.

“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled correctly today that federal district courts — not federal courts of appeals — have jurisdiction to review the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule,” Farm Bureau General Counsel Ellen Steen said in a news release.

“This Supreme Court decision brings greater clarity to an important issue that has bogged down the litigation over this and other Clean Water Act regulations for years,” Steen said.

“That is a positive result, but it also creates uncertainty and confusion in the short term, because the Sixth Circuit must soon lift its nationwide stay of the 2015 rule.

“At this time, the Environmental Protection Agency has not yet finalized its proposed rule to delay the application of the unlawful and dangerous 2015 WOTUS rule while the agency considers whether to permanently repeal that rule,” Steen said.

“AFBF is considering its options to avoid application of the 2015 rule while EPA moves forward with an appropriate long-term solution that provides clear rules and clean water without requiring a federal permit to plow a field.”

E&E News and ScotusBlog both published lengthy analyses of the situation.

–The Hagstrom Report

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