DTN THE PROGRESSIVE FARMER: WOTUS Merits Argued in Georgia Court

The future of the 2015 waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule may be decided in a district court in Georgia, as the American Farm Bureau Federation and supporters of the Obama-era rule have asked a court there to decide on its merits.
 
For the past three years, the WOTUS rule has been hung up by dozens of lawsuits and legal procedures across the country, but now a court has been asked to rule on the constitutionality of WOTUS.
 
This summer, the AFBF filed a motion for summary judgement, asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to invalidate the rule, claiming it was unconstitutional and violated the administrative procedures act.
 
On behalf of the National Wildlife Federation and One Hundred Miles, the Southern Environmental Law Center filed a motion for summary judgement this week, arguing in favor of the 2015 rule based on the science used in drafting the rule.
 
A motion for summary judgement asks a court to issue a ruling based on agreed-upon facts in a case.
 
“No one seriously disputes that Justice (Anthony) Kennedy held that waters are covered under the Clean Water Act if they have a ‘significant nexus’ to primary waters,” the latest motion said.
 
“The question, then, is whether the agencies had a sufficient scientific basis for identifying waters under the Clean Water Rule as having a ‘significant nexus’ — as defined by Justice Kennedy — to primary waters. The agencies’ position that they did is supported by more than 1,200 scientific publications and confirmed by 27 of the nation’s top scientists, among other things.”

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