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Supreme Court Agrees to hear WOTUS Petition

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) coalition petition regarding the proper venue for the multi-industry case against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule on Jan. 13.

“This is not a hearing on the merits of the rule, but whether the case should be heard first in the district court or the appeals court,” explained Emily Coyner, NSSGA director of environmental services. It is expected that the hearing will be in April with a decision in June.

NSSGA and the other industry litigation partners would prefer that litigation against the rule be heard in the district courts, where there is more opportunity to elaborate on the harmful effects of the rule. The WOTUS rule would drastically increase the jurisdiction of the EPA and would cost the aggregates industry millions of dollars to comply with new requirements. A nationwide stay is currently keeping the rule from being implemented across the country.

Also on Jan. 13, the Obama administration filed its parting defense of the WOTUS rule with a 250-page brief filed in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Any new rule from the Trump administration would need to address the points in that brief to be legally protected. The Trump administration is expected to ask for a “hold” on litigation against the rule so that it can be reworked.

“NSSGA looks forward to working with the Trump administration and Congress to put a stop to the WOTUS rule. Whether it is on the Hill or through our actions in the courts, NSSGA is doing everything possible to work with the incoming administration to not only stop the WOTUS rule, but ensure that the EPA considers industry concerns in other rulemakings.”