Monday, January 22, 2018

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SCOTUS clarifies WOTUS jurisdiction decision

WASHINGTON–The national stay on the 2015 waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule is expected to be lifted following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday.

The Supreme Court said today that any legal challenges to the rule must take place in federal district courts and not at the appellate level.

But that doesn't mean the previous administration's rule will take effect. That's because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to put the brakes on the WOTUS rule prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, putting in place a two-year delay on the effective date while EPA undertakes a broader rewrite.

Ellen Steen, General Counsel of the American Farm Bureau Federation says the courts ruling today will clarify rule:

“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. 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. 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. 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.”

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