Litigation on the Clean Water Rule

The US Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers published their final Clean Water Rule earlier today regarding the scope of “waters of the United States” and the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The Federal Register publication may be found here and here (PDF), and the USEPA website on the regulation here.

As expected, the rule was immediately faced with litigation. Three lawsuits of note were filed today by groups of states:

  • Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi filed a Complaint in US District Court for the Southern District of Texas;
  • Ohio and Michigan filed a Complaint in the Southern District of Ohio; and
  • Thirteen states, consisting of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, filed a joint Complaint in the District of North Dakota.

Undoubtedly, numerous other suits will also be filed by industry groups and other interested persons. That may include suits by environmental advocates, who feel the new Clean Water Rule fails to include some waters that should be within the regulatory jurisdiction of the federal agencies.

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