Wednesday, November 09, 2016

War Against WOTUS Wages On

The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers, has been one of the most hotly contested regulations introduced under the Obama Administration. Opponents argue WOTUS is an overreaching regulation that threatens landowners across the country. On November 1, 2016, several industry stakeholders, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC), filed the opening brief in the Sioux Circuit Court of Appeals, calling for the WOTUS rule to be invalidated. Scott Yager, NCBA’s environmental counsel, says the crux of the ongoing lawsuit, which was filed in July 2015, is the EPA and Army Corps failed to follow correct protocols in finalizing the rule. The opening brief now addresses the industry’s concerns about the legality of the rule. “Up to this point, the lawsuit has focused on the procedural issues,” said Yager. “The opening brief argues that the rule is illegal because the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The brief also argues that the EPA violated the constitution because the rule goes beyond the boundaries of jurisdiction. The WOTUS rule stretches the boundaries of the Clean Water Act to include dry creek beds and prairie potholes, which goes beyond any historic perception of jurisdiction.” “The EPA did not follow procedure when creating this rule,” added PLC Executive Director Ethan Lane. “They withheld key documents until after the comments period was closed. They illegally lobbied for the rule, and engaged in quite a bit of illegal behavior in advancing a federal rule.” With the opening brief filed, the EPA has a chance to respond to the opening brief, and Yager explained that there will be some back and forth until March 2017. He anticipates the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to make a decision by late spring or early summer. “Depending on the results, we could see more appeals from either side going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Yager. “The nationwide stay of the rule is still in place and was issued by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. I believe the stay will remain in place throughout the hearings.”...more

No comments: