Federal Court Halts EPA Clean Water Rule

P.O. Box 7857
Madison, WI 53707-7857
Federal Court Halts EPA's Overreaching "Waters of the United States" Rule
October 9, 2015
Contact: Anne E. Schwartz 608-266-6686
MADISON — A federal appeals court today issued an order temporarily stopping the
Environmental Protection Agency's rule expanding the agency's jurisdiction over waterways
from going into effect. Attorney General Brad D. Schimel, on behalf of the State of Wisconsin,
previously joined the lawsuit seeking the stay.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, Congress gave the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers
regulatory authority over “navigable waters." However, under this new rule, the EPA and Army
Corps of Engineers greatly expanded the definition of waterways falling under federal
jurisdiction to cover many types of waters traditionally under state authority.
Several states brought suit against the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers in a number of courts,
claiming that this expansion of federal authority over waterways supplants the states’
constitutional right to govern their own waters.
The cases were consolidated into one case that is currently pending before the Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals in Ohio. In its order today, the Sixth Circuit ruled that states challenging the
rule "have demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their claims."
"This is an important victory for property owners, and especially for Wisconsin's agricultural
industry," said Attorney General Schimel. "Wisconsin already has strong clean water regulations,
and the rule was unnecessary," added Schimel. "It is yet another example of the EPA exceeding
its constitutional authority."
The case will continue to a resolution on the merits, but stopping the rule from going into effect
during the pending litigation is a significant victory.
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