WOTUS review trickles down to federal district courts


This week the U.S. Supreme Court came down with its ruling on a narrow procedural issue on the Clean Water Act’s “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, finding that judicial review must originate in the United States district courts, in which several cases are on hold challenging the rule.

The American Farm Bureau Federation said the Supreme Court made the right decision.

“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,” said Ellen Steen, General Counsel of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“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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