The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) reported that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a nationwide stay on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
Jointly proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), it radically expands federal jurisdiction over waters that have little or no connection to flowing streams and rivers. The court noted that while there is no threat of immediate irreparable harm to any of the states, “the sheer breadth of the ripple effects caused by the Rule’s definitional changes counsels strongly in favor of maintaining the status quo for the time being.”
The nationwide stay was granted by a 2-1 vote, with the majority finding “a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their [18 states bringing the suit] claims.” The court took issue with both the content of the rule, and the lack of notice and comment for significant changes that were added in the final version. Due to both procedural and merits claims, the court has ordered that “The Clean Water Rule is hereby STAYED, nationwide, pending further order of the court.”
Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs, stated, “This is the exact reason why NSSGA is litigating against this rule. We fully support the court’s nationwide stay as they consider the merits of a regulation that will impact businesses and Americans across the country. We are heartened that the court has recognized that this rule is neither in compliance with Supreme Court decisions, nor were significant portions of it put out for notice and comment as required by law.”