District Court Vacates Trump Administration “Waters” Rule, So What’s Next for WOTUS?
Yesterday a federal district court judge in Arizona vacated and remanded the Trump Administration’s “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” (NWPR) which adopted a somewhat narrow definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the the Clean Water Act (CWA). This definition is important because it determines the scope of federal regulatory authority under the CWA, including what wetlands are subject to CWA permitting requirements as part of the “waters of the United States.”
The decision by Judge Rosemary Marquez in Pasqua Yaqui Tribe v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is merely the latest judicial decision in a decades-long fight over the scope of CWA regulatory jurisdiction. These fights date back to the 1980s, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency first adopted expansive interpretations of their regulatory authority under the CWA. In the 2000s the agencies suffered two major losses in the Supreme Court (SWANCC and Rapanos), but failed to trim their regulatory ambitions.
The Obama Administration adopted an expansive WOTUS rule in 2015, and it too faced judicial skepticism, but was withdrawn by the Trump Administration in 2019 before reaching the Supreme Court on the merits. The NWPR was adopted in April 2020, and has now been vacated before it was even two years old.
Judge Marquez was aided in her co
Article from Latest – Reason.com