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13 August 2018
The US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia recently enjoined the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) rule defining the term 'waters of the United States' (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act, which establishes the act's jurisdictional reach. The court determined that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their case and faced a substantial threat of irreparable injury without the preliminary injunction. By granting the plaintiff states' request for a preliminary injunction of the WOTUS rule, the court prevented it from going into effect in those 11 states (Georgia, West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin).
The WOTUS rule has been mired in litigation and revision since its issuance in 2015. Challenged in both the district and circuit courts, the Sixth Circuit stayed the rule nationwide before the Supreme Court held earlier in 2018 that challenges to the rule must proceed in the district courts. Meanwhile, under President Trump, the EPA has delayed the rule's applicability until 2020 – which is being challenged separately in the district courts – and begun the process of repealing and replacing it.
For further information on this topic please contact Samuel B Boxerman or Jim Wedeking at Sidley Austin LLP by telephone (+1 202 736 8000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Sidley Austin LLP website can be accessed at www.sidley.com.
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