Court puts stop on Waters of the U.S. implementation

Court puts stop on Waters of the U.S. implementation

Sixth Judicial Circuit Court orders nationwide stay of Waters of the U.S. rule

The Sixth Judicial Court on Friday ordered a nationwide stay on the Waters of the U.S., holding the rule's implementation based on concerns regarding its legality.

The stay was granted so the court may determine jurisdiction on the several pending WOTUS lawsuits challenging the rule, and sort out confusion about its requirements, the court order said.

"A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new Rule and whether they will survive legal testing," it said. "A stay honors the policy of cooperative federalism that informs the Clean Water Act and must attend the shared responsibility for safeguarding the nation's waters."

Sixth Judicial Circuit Court orders nationwide stay of Waters of the U.S. rule

Philip Ellis, National Cattlemen's Beef Association president, said the ruling is "great news" for cattlemen and women.

"A stay by the Court has the same effect as an injunction, and this action prevents the EPA and Army Corps from implementing this disastrous rule across the country," he said.

The decision was agreed upon 2-1 by the three-judge panel.

"The judges expressed deep concerns over the basic legality of this rule," said Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau president. "We're not in the least surprised: This is the worst EPA order we have seen since the agency was established more than 40 years ago. The court clearly understood our arguments."

Related: Inside EPA's Waters of the U.S. ruling: What you should know

Though Stallman said he was optimistic about the court's handling of the rule, he said Congressional action would be helpful.

"We are confident that the courts will strike down this rule. Unfortunately, we also know stays don't last forever, and cases like this almost always take years to win," he said. "So we again ask the Senate to pass legislation to nullify this rule just as the House has already done."

The House's provision, which would withdraw the rule and call for a re-write, passed in May with a 261-155 vote.

Though the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has moved forward a bill that also would withdraw WOTUS, it has not been considered by the full Senate.

Previous injunction
In August, a North Dakota U.S. district court judge approved a preliminary injunction against the Waters of the U.S. regulation, blocking the rule from taking effect in the 13 states that filed the lawsuit.

States filing the suit included North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico.

While other states also filed complaints about the rule, EPA said at the time it would enforce WOTUS regulation -- which took effect Aug. 28 -- on the states not covered by the injunction.

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