Supreme Court makes decision on WOTUS challenges

By |  January 26, 2018

Challenges to the WOTUS rule must now be made in federal district court.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the decision that challenges to the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule must be filed in federal district courts, reports the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA).

According to NSSGA, this decision could cause the rule, established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to be applicable in most of the United States because the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is likely to lift its 2015 nationwide stay on the rule.

If this happened, the only remaining active stay would be the one issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of North Carolina, which covers Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, NSSGA adds.

Because of this, EPA proposed to delay the 2015 WOTUS rule applicability date to 2020 in order to finalize the withdrawal and replacement. The delay “will allow adequate time to withdraw the 2015 rule and to develop a new rule to provide certainty to regulators, operators and the general public, while protecting navigable waters and the rights of the states and landowners,” NSSGA says.

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