In a decision issued on October 9, a federal appeals court temporarily suspended implementation of the clean water rule nationwide. This decision is procedural only — it does not overturn the rule or address the merits of the arguments for or against it. Following the decision, League Executive Director Scott Kovarovics made the following statement:
“The decision to temporarily halt implementation of the clean water rule is disappointing. In making this decision, the court prioritized the status quo that existed before the new rule was finalized. The ‘status quo’ means uncertainty about which streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. It means that waters essential for hunting, fishing, and the outdoor recreation economy remain at risk. And it means that drinking water supplies for 1 in 3 Americans remain threatened. For Izaak Walton League members nationwide, the status quo is not acceptable. We look forward to a speedy resolution to this case and a final decision that upholds the clean water rule and common-sense protections for our nation’s waters.”
As Outdoor America goes to print, it is impossible to predict how long the judicial process will take. While the clean water rule is suspended, EPA and the Corps of Engineers will use regulations that had previously been in effect to determine the specific types of waters protected by the Clean Water Act.