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.
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.
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