EPA Waters of the U.S. Rule, Sixth Circuit Jurisdiction

DTN writer Todd Neeley reported yesterday that, “The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth District in Cincinnati ruled it has jurisdiction to hear numerous legal challenges to the waters of the United States rule on Monday.

“In the court’s majority opinion, Judge David W. McKeague wrote that because federal district courts issued conflicting rulings on a number of cases last year, the Sixth Circuit should hear many of the challenges levied by states and a variety of industry groups, including those in agriculture.

The Sixth Circuit issued a national injunction of the rule last year, putting it on hold until legal issues could be resolved. Many legal experts believe the rule ultimately will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. In a ruling last year, the Sixth Circuit Court was highly critical of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the development and finalization of the rule.”

Mr. Neeley indicated that, “In the ruling announced Monday, Judge McKeague said it would make legal sense for the Sixth Circuit to consider the case.

“‘The Clean Water Rule is intended to clarify the scope of ‘the waters of the United States’ subject to protection under the Clean Water Act,’ according to the court’s ruling. ‘The act provides that certain specified actions of the EPA administrator are reviewable directly in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.'”

The DTN article added that, “Some 30 states have sued the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the rule’s enforcement. In a ruling last year the Sixth Circuit Court said it believes the plaintiffs have demonstrated their legal claims could be successful.

“Exactly how long the stay will last is not known.”

The Waters of the U.S. Rule has been identified as an important issue that could impact agriculture as the executive branch and the Senate consider a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice in the future.


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