WOTUS final rule faces multiple lawsuits Email

Sixteen states and a number of state departments and authorities have filed lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the recent Clean Water Act Final Rule (“Waters of the US” or WOTUS). Colorado is a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, which claims that the Clean Water Rule affects or interferes with state sovereign authority. It also purports that additional requests related to the rule will create additional burden to state staff.

Industry has also entered the conversation, with numerous industry groups from American Farm Bureau Federation to Public Lands Council filing a lawsuit to overturn the rule. They claim that the rule is still too vague and is open to a broad interpretation, which could result in overreach of the original jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuits claim that:

  • the final rule exceeds the Agencies’ authority under the Clean Water Act
  • the final rule improperly extends the Agencies’ Authority Beyond the Limits of the Commerce Clause
  • the final rule violates state sovereignty reserved under the tenth amendment
  • the Corps violated the procedural mandates of the National Environmental Policy Act
  • the final rule is arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act
  • the Agencies violated the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act

It is expected that the passing of the final rule will be delayed while these lawsuits are considered.

Further reading:
Industry groups add to lawsuits against EPA’s water rule
Text of complaint in Texas courts by American Farm Bureau Federation et al

Download text of complaint from North Dakota, Colorado, et al
National Association of Landscape Professionals Advocacy Page - WOTUS
Newhouse Applauds House Passage of Legislation Blocking ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule