Federal Court Halts New Clean Water Rule

Oct. 9, 2015

WASHINGTON (October 9, 2015) – A federal court decision handed down today temporarily delays enforcement of the  Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule, which would have guaranteed pollution protections for tens of millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of streams all across the United States. The stay issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is a preliminary ruling and will be followed by much more thorough review in later proceedings over the rules.

Though the decision delays enforcement of the Clean Water Rule for now, the court acknowledged the importance of, and basis for, the environmental protections, noting:

  • “we appreciate the need for the new Rule”
  • “In one sense, the clarification that the new Rule strives to achieve is long overdue.”
  • “We also accept that respondent agencies have conscientiously endeavored, within their technical expertise and experience, and based on reliable peer-reviewed science, to promulgate new standards to protect water quality that conform to the Supreme Court’s guidance.”

Following is a statement by Jon Devine, senior attorney in the Water Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Every major rule delivered by the EPA is guaranteed to face legal challenges, so today’s preliminary decision is disappointing but not a surprise. We look forward to making the case in court about the critical public interests at stake. The Clean Water Rule is key to ensuring clean drinking water for one-in-three Americans and protecting essential buffers against flooding. We are confident the courts will find that these are needed safeguards and reject claims that the rule protects too many water bodies from pollution.”

More information on the Clean Water Rule at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jdevine/oh_happy_day_clean_water_rule_.html.

The decision can be found at http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/15a0246p-06.pdf.

Source: NRDC