Clean Water Rule Updates


The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a challenge to the Clean Water Rule. The request to review was filed by more than 30 states as well as agriculture and other industry groups. The Supreme Court will decide the jurisdictional question of whether a federal appellate court or federal district courts should hear challenges to the Clean Water Rule. The Clean Water Rule was introduced by the Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It was finalized in May 2015. The rule clarifies which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act.

The request for a review by the Supreme Court was a result of a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That ruling said the 6th Circuit Court, not U.S. District Courts, should hear the case. With a decision to review the ruling pending from the Supreme Court, the 6th Circuit Court has put a hold on their case. EPA and the Corps defended the rule in a legal and science-based brief filed with the 6th Circuit Court. The League also signed on to a “friend of the court” brief with the 6th Circuit Court in support of the rule.

The future of the Clean Water Rule is in serious doubt as President Trump, on numerous occasions during the campaign, promised to get rid of the rule.

Legislatively, Senate Resolution 12 has been introduced by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Joni Ernst (R-IA). The resolution would withdraw the Clean Water Rule based on the claim that it expands Clean Water Act protections. However, the Clean Water Rule does not expand Clean Water Act jurisdiction beyond where it was before Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 muddied the interpretations of the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Rule restores protections for many streams and wetlands that serve as the sources of drinking water for more than 117 million Americans. These waters also provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife and a place for many people to recreate. Currently, the Clean Water Rule is on hold nationwide until the litigation is settled.

Please let all of your elected officials know you support the Clean Water Rule and you want to see it implemented.

You can learn more about the rule on the League’s website.