SCOTUS KILLS WOTUS: Enormous Setback for Obama Era EPA Power Grab

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From Watts Up With That?

Enormous setback for the fanatics at the EPA who would regulate ever puddle or ditch they could find.

A couple of hours ago the following headline went out.

Supreme Court rules against EPA in environmental case, limiting agency’s power over water

Now that the REEES are being heard the headline of the story has been changed to:

‘Significant repercussions.’ Supreme Court limits government power to curb water pollution

From USA Today via MSN

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Thursday sided with a couple who have been battling the Environmental Protection Agency for more than a decade over a plan to develop a property in the Idaho panhandle, a decision with potentially sweeping national ramifications for water quality, agriculture and development.

The case, which was centered on the scope of the 1972 Clean Water Act, was arguably the most important environmental decision the Supreme Court has handed down since a majority last year invalidated an EPA effort to regulate power plant emissions. The plaintiffs asked the court to provide a clearer definition for what the law meant when it gave the agency power to regulate the “waters of the United States.”

In an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by four other conservative justices, the court limited the scope of the EPA’s ability to control wetland pollution

What is the WOTUS Rule? Here are some links and excerpts.

You can see the back and forth from Obama administration to the Trump admin rescinding and then back full speed ahead under Biden

The agencies amended their regulations defining “waters of the United States” in 2015 in the Clean Water Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States.” 

The 2015 Clean Water Rule was repealed by the 2019 Rule, which reinstated the 1980s regulations, implemented consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court cases and applicable guidance.

The agencies replaced the 2019 Rule with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) in 2020. In light of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona’s August 30, 2021 order vacating and remanding the Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the case of Pascua Yaqui Tribe v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agencies halted implementation of the NWPR nationwide and interpreted “waters of the United States” consistent with the pre-2015 regulatory regime.

For additional information, see the History of the Effects of Litigation Over Recent Definitions of “Waters of the United States” (pdf) (66.74 KB)

The final “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” rule was published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2023, and the rule took effect on March 20, 2023.  The final rule was codified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in place of the vacated NWPR. However, the final rule is not currently operative in certain states due to litigation. Please visit the Rule Status page for additional information about the status of the rule and litigation. More information about the final rule is available here

Final Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”

On December 30, 2022, the agencies announced the final “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” rule. On January 18, 2023, the rule was published in the Federal Register and the rule took effect on March 20, 2023. However, the final rule is not currently operative in certain states and for certain parties due to litigation. Please visit the Rule Status page for additional information about the status of the rule and litigation. The agencies developed the 2023 Rule with consideration of the relevant provisions of the Clean Water Act and the statute as a whole, relevant Supreme Court case law, and the agencies’ technical expertise after more than 45 years of implementing the longstanding pre-2015 “waters of the United States” framework. This rule also considers the best available science and extensive public comment to establish a definition of “waters of the United States” that supports public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth. More information about the final rule is available below.

And everything below is shot down by this rulingas well as much more

Announcement of the Intention to Revise the Definition of “Waters of the United States”

On June 9, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of “waters of the United States.”  

Executive Order 13990

Executive Order 13990 on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis (Jan. 20, 2021) directed EPA and the Army “to immediately review and, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, take action to address the promulgation of Federal regulations [including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule or “NWPR”] and other actions during the last four years that conflict with these important national objectives.”

The order also specifically revoked Executive Order 13778 of February 28, 2017 (Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the “Waters of the United States” Rule), which resulted in promulgation of the NWPR.

The order provides that “[i]t is, therefore, the policy of my Administration to listen to the science; to improve public health and protect our environment; to ensure access to clean air and water; to limit exposure to dangerous chemicals and pesticides; to hold polluters accountable, including those who disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change; to restore and expand our national treasures and monuments; and to prioritize both environmental justice and the creation of the well-paying union jobs necessary to deliver on these goals.”

In conformance with Executive Order 13990, the agencies reviewed the NWPR. See also Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review. The agencies have completed their review of the NWPR and determined that the rule must be replaced.

It’s a good day for economic and regulatory sanity.


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