An October 13, 2015, National Association of Counties (NACo) blog article announced that a federal court has issued an order temporarily delaying implementation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent rule change to the definition of the “Waters of the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the U.S. District Court of North Dakota had earlier blocked the rule’s implementation in 13 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming) that had legally challenged EPA’s authority to enact the rule. The more recent ruling now blocks implementation in all states. From the NACo article:
On October 9, the 6th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals issued an order to temporarily delay the “Waters of the U.S.” rule (also known as WOTUS) nationwide. The order was in response to challenges brought by 18 states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin).
This comes after an August 27 court decision in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota to stay the rule in 13 states. Prior to the Court of Appeals ruling, however, the EPA was still legally allowed to implement the final rule in the remaining 37 states.
The suits filed by the states were among a multitude of lawsuits filed in separate district courts across the country. The state challenges were subsequently consolidated in the 6th Circuit. Two of the three Appeals Court judges held that the states bringing the challenges “have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims.” In the coming weeks, the court must determine whether it has jurisdiction over the consolidated case. Until this is decided, the 6th Circuit Court determined that the rule should be temporarily delayed.