U.S. Supreme Court Changes Jurisdiction for WOTUS Challenges

WOTUS is, unfortunately, far from dead. In May 2015 the Obama rogue Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with the Obama U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a finalized rule clarifying what “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) means vis a vis what can be regulated under the federal Clean Water Act (see EPA Power Grab: Redefines Waters of the U.S. to Include Everything). Essentially the rule change redefined everything down to mud puddles (no, we’re not exaggerating) as being subject to the federal Clean Water Act. It was yet another attempt to bring oil and gas regulation under the purview of the federal government, a violation of the U.S. Constitution. In October 2015, a federal judge stopped WOTUS from going into effect while it’s litigated (see Sixth Circuit Court Stops EPA from Implementing WOTUS Anywhere). Eventually 31 states along with other entities filed briefs with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opposing the rule (see 31 States Ask Court to Dump Obama WOTUS Rule as Unconstitutional). A number of Senators and Congressmen joined the lawsuit. When President Trump took office and nominated Scott Pruitt (who had fought against WOTUS as Oklahoma Attorney General) to head the EPA, we thought that was the end of WOTUS. Pruitt pledged to roll back the onerous, hideous overreach of the Obama EPA (see Free at Last! EPA, US Army Corps Rescind Obama WOTUS Rule). Except that has not (so far) happened. Because of legal wrangling, Pruitt must take two years to develop a replacement for the destructive version of WOTUS–and in the meantime, the Obama version of WOTUS (sadly) remains in effect. Lawsuits against it continue to be litigated. It was into that fray the U.S. Supreme Court entered and recently ruled, unanimously, that the proper courts to review WOTUS are the District Courts and not the Courts of Appeal. Which is an important change. Here’s why…

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