On August 17, a South Carolina District Court’s ruling overturned the Trump administration's attempted delay of the Obama administration's Waters of the U.S. rule for failing to offer the public a meaningful opportunity to comment. As a result, the 2015 rule is now officially on the books in 26 states — but not in the other 24 states where other district court injunctions are in place.

"The agencies refused to engage in a substantive reevaluation of the definition of the 'waters of the United States' even though the legal effect of the Suspension Rule is that the definition of 'waters of the United States' ceases to be the definition under the WOTUS rule and reverts to the definition under the 1980s regulation," Judge David Norton wrote in Thursday's ruling. "An illusory opportunity to comment is no opportunity at all."

The Justice Department is reviewing the decision, a spokesman said, and players on both sides broadly expect an appeal. Separately, EPA said in a statement it and the Army Corps of Engineers "will review the order as the agencies work to determine next steps." (8/17/18, PoliticoPRO)

With the ruling on Thursday, the 2015 rule now is in effect in Iowa, Illinois, California, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Louisiana, Hawaii, Delaware and Connecticut.

Because of court actions in other cases, the 2015 rule remains on hold in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Dakota, Missouri, Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, Nebraska, Montana, Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming.

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This Week in Washington is an online news portal from the Water Environment Federation that provides updates on the latest legislative and regulatory developments that affect the water and wastewater communities. It provides concise reports of related bills, regulations, legal decisions, congressional hearings, and other federal government actions, following key issues from introduction to final determination.

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This Week in Washington is compiled by the WEF Government Affairs department. Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Claudio Ternieden
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Steve Dye
Legislative Director

Amy Kathman
Government Affairs Specialist