Update: WOTUS Rule Blocked Nationwide by Federal Sixth Circuit Court [US]

On October 9th, 2015, the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati issued a stay of the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS), which clarifies which waterbodies are given protection under the Clean Water Act.

Opposition

The order arises from a lawsuit brought by 18 states seeking to block the rule, alleging that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ rule is an overreach of federal authority that would cause irreparable harm to the states.

Opponents to WOTUS have argued that the dispute should be heard at the district federal court level, while the EPA has argued that it is a matter serious enough for the federal courts of appeal.

Existing definitions remain

The federal Sixth Circuit has blocked the WOTUS rule nationwide until it decides which court will oversee challenges to the rule.  Until that time, the EPA will be unable to act and the existing definition of “Waters of the U.S.” will remain in effect.

Red-on-line EHS Legalist

Sources:

The State of Ohio et al v. U.S. EPA et al, Stay Ruling, October 9th, 2015.

Final Rule: Clean Water Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States”, Prepublication Version, May 26th, 2015.

Sharon Montazeri, Red-on-line, Final Rule: Rulemaking Clarifies Definition of “Waters of the U.S.” Under Clean Water Act

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