Court issues nationwide stay against EPA's new water rule

A nationwide stay against enforcement of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ new rule, which defined the scope of the “waters of the United States,” was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

The Court ruled that it is in the nation’s interest to maintain the standards of the previous "waters of the United States" definition while challenges to the new rule are resolved.

“What is of greater concern to us, in balancing the harms, is the burden – potentially visited nationwide on governmental bodies, state and federal, as well as private parties – and the impact on the public in general, implicated by the rule’s effective redrawing of jurisdictional lines over certain of the nation’s waters … the sheer breadth of the ripple effects caused by the rule’s definitional changes counsels strongly in favor of maintaining the status quo for the time being.”

The WOTUS rule, which was issued on May 27, significantly expanded the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, has made enemies in Washington and across U.S. industry.

In 2014, Associated Equipment Distributors joined a collection of diverse industry groups opposing the agency’s proposal to redefine “waters of the United States” for purposes of federal regulatory oversight. But the final rule failed to heed those public comments because it is virtually identical to the original proposal.

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