NSSGA scored another victory in its fight against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. On June 8, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia blocked the 2015 rule in 11 states. The rule is now void in 24 states. The judge’s decision that the 2015 rule violated federal law, including the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, which supports NSSGA’s long-standing opinion of WOTUS.
The 2015 WOTUS rule would have radically expanded federal jurisdiction over land and required costly federal permits and mitigation for construction on dry land and isolated waters. The Trump administration delayed the implementation date of the 2015 rule with an executive order last year. While It is remotely possible for another court to lift the delay, due to ongoing litigation, this ruling makes that result far less likely.
“Our efforts to get a clear and reasonable WOTUS rule are not finished and we welcome the decision from this federal judge. There is no good reason to allow an unlawful, over-reaching and soon-to-be replaced rule into effect,” said Emily Coyner, NSSGA senior director of environmental policy. “Having the 2015 rule enforced in about half of the states would be devastating to aggregates operators trying to expand or open new operations, particularly small producers.”