The ruling ends the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' suspension of clean water protections under the Clean Water Act, one of the nation's bedrock environmental laws, and puts the Clean Water Rule back in effect for more than half of the country. The broader the definition of "waters", the broader the federal government's regulatory reach over potentially polluting activities and much normal land-use that is covered by the CWA's provisions. That action by EPA was created to allow the agency to complete a rewrite of WOTUS.
Just when farmers thought they had some time for the Trump Administration to save the day and fix the Obama-written Waters of the us rule, a SC judge comes in and said the government didn't follow the proper administrative rules. As the district court explained, the effect of the suspension rule was to reinstate the prior regulatory definition and this sort of substantive change requires a more fulsome administrative process, and opportunity to comment, than the EPA (and Army Corps) provided.
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 CT.
The suspension rule would have given the agency until 2020 to complete a rewrite of WOTUS.More news: 'Staffers sign protest letter over Google's search project for China'
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the initial challenge in February on behalf of American Rivers, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, Charleston Waterkeeper, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Coastal Conservation League, Friends of the Rappahannock, North Carolina Coastal Federation, and North Carolina Wildlife Federation. Litigation ensued, and the Supreme Court twice rebuked the agencies for adopting an overly expansive interpretation of "waters of the United States". A total of 11 states allied with environmental groups to successfully challenge this rollback.
Agricultural groups said the ruling reinforces why the Administration needs to take quick actions to limit the impact of this ruling.
"To avoid widespread uncertainty and potential enforcement against ordinary farming activities in these already-uncertain times, we call on the Administration to take immediate steps to limit the impact of this risky court decision", American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall said.
"The U.S. District Court for SC was wrong to invalidate the agency's "applicability rule" that had simply delayed the effective date of the 2015 WOTUS rule".More news: 16 nurses get pregnant at Arizona hospital ICU
A federal appeals court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to immediately implement an Obama-era chemical safety rule introduced in response to a 2013 explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas that killed 15 people.
As a result, farmers in these states will be subject to overbroad, vague and illegal regulations on cropland and ranchland.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association also issued a statement Thursday afternoon warning that the court's ruling means WOTUS remains a threat for farmers and ranchers.More news: Sanjay Bangar explains the dressing room’s reaction to Rishabh Pant’s six