Washington Report

Advocacy Updates from Washington D.C.

Supreme Court to Hear WOTUS Case

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up the dispute over which lower courts have jurisdiction to hear challenges to the Obama administration's Clean Water Rule. The Court will reconsider the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to hear legal challenges over the rule, which is also known as Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS.

More than 30 states and many industry and farm groups, including NAR, have challenged the joint U.S. EPA-Army Corps of Engineers rule redefining what waterways and wetlands receive protection under the Clean Water Act.

In February, the Ohio-based 6th Circuit ruled 2-1 that it had jurisdiction to hear the challenges. The 6th Circuit also issued a nationwide stay of the rule pending the resolution of the litigation.

The decision by the Supreme Court to review the 6th Circuit decision is a big setback for the Obama administration, which has sought to keep the litigation in the appellate court and avoid fights in district courts that might be more sympathetic to challengers of the rule. The fate of the litigation remains murky, though, given that President-elect Donald Trump will likely take steps to eliminate the rule.