Court Order Extends Legal Battle Over Waters of the U.S. Rule

DTN writer Todd Neeley reported yesterday that, “The national stay on the waters of the United States rule likely will remain in place and the legal challenge to the rule will continue well into 2017, under a court order Tuesday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati.

“There are a number of briefing deadlines extending into 2017.

“Based on the order, oral arguments on the merits of the case likely would take place beyond February 2017.”

Mr. Neeley noted that, “Numerous legal challenges to the rule have been consolidated by the three-judge panel because of the sheer number of challenges filed.

“The Sixth Circuit ruled in April there would be no hearing of the full 23-judge court as requested by a group of petitioners led by the American Farm Bureau Federation.”

The DTN article added that, “There are 22 petitions for review involving more than 150 petitioners. In addition, ‘numerous parties’ have intervened in the cases, according to court documents.

The rule remains on hold nationally.

“The rule, commonly called WOTUS, was meant to clarify EPA and Corps of Engineers authority over areas around waterways where the federal government has authority to either require a federal permit or stop any activity that would disturb the waterway. Opponents claim the rule would give the regulatory agencies broad authority over basic farming practices simply because water may pool somewhere after a rain or fill a ditch.”

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