Jan. 26, 2018 — On Jan. 22, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that lawsuits relating to the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule must start at the lowest level of the federal court system — federal district courts. The administration had argued that those cases should be heard in federal appeals courts.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court had agreed to hear the case over the regulation after debate arose about whether the U.S. Court of Appeals or federal district courts had the authority to hear lawsuits from groups and states that say the rule went too far. Parties had filed lawsuits over the regulation in both venues.
Industry groups argued that under the Clean Water Act, WOTUS cases should being in federal district courts, while the Trump administration felt the cases were legally within the realm of appeals courts. (The Hill, 1/22/18).
However, while this is a loss for the administration, and the Obama era rule is still on the books, the main fight will be the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal it. On Dec, 13, 2017, WEF submitted comments on the Definition of “Waters of the United States.” (PoliticoPRO, 1/23/18)
Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency page about the rulemaking process for the Waters of the U.S.