U.S. Court Issues Stay in EPA Water Rule

CINCINNATI, OHIO — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a stay on Friday to put a stop to a federal EPA regulation that would have expanded the amount of water under federal protection.

The court ruled in a split decision to block the EPA regulation while other litigation examines the legality of the original move.

“This decision is a critical victory in our fight against this onerous federal overreach,” Attorney General Morrisey said in a prepared media release. “We have said from the beginning that this new rule does not pass legal muster, and had it been allowed to remain in effect, homeowners, farmers and a host of other entities across our state would have found themselves subject to a costly regime of new, complicated federal regulations.”

The “Waters of the United States” rule would put three percent more of the water in the United States under federal jurisdiction.

Some saw it as a federal power grab.

“They would shut down everybody,” Senator Joe Manchin told MetroNews. “If you’re building a home, you’re building a new company, you’re building a factory, you’re creating jobs. We all have a responsibility, but that was an overreach that was uncalled for.”

“In granting the stay, the Court described the rule as ‘facially suspect.’ This solidly reaffirms our belief that we have a strong case on the merits and that the courts will ultimately strike down this burdensome regulation,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We look forward to continuing to challenge this rule’s legality in court and are confident we will prevail.”

The EPA has stated that the rule is needed to clarify previous court rulings that could call their ability to protect wetlands into question.

“There’s nobody in West Virginia who wants to breathe dirty air or drink dirty water,” Manchin said. “That’s not going to happen. We’ve cleaned up the environment in West Virginia and around this country more than we ever have in the history of this country.”

“Today’s decision by the court is a win for hardworking West Virginia families, small businesses, energy producers and others across the country who would be unfairly burdened by the onerous and deeply flawed WOTUS rule,” Senator Shelley Moore Capito said in a prepared release. “The court’s decision confirms that WOTUS was the wrong approach to protecting our water resources and reinforces the need to rein in this administration’s unprecedented and overreaching regulations.”

31 states and state agencies challenged the legality of the rule, claiming it violates the Clean Water Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the U.S. Constitution.

The rule expanded the power of the EPA and Corps of Engineers’ regulatory jurisdiction to a number of much smaller bodies of water.

“Everybody wants clean water–everybody,” Manchin said. “Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative–no matter what–you want clean water. But the bottom line is should the federal government have jurisdictions over run-off water, ditch water, things that don’t have any aquatic life, things that no humans use?”

By:  Alex Wiederspeil
Source: Metro News