INSIDE EPA: Industry renews bid for nationwide bar on 2015 CWA rule

An industry coalition is renewing its push for a court order that would block implementation of the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule nationwide, urging a federal district judge in Georgia to expand the scope of her current injunction barring implementation of the rule in 11 states to cover the entire United States.
The Sept. 26 motion filed jointly by a broad array of industry groups in State of Georgia, et al., v. Wheeler, et al., calls for Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to bar enforcement of the CWA rule — also termed the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule — follows a decision in a Texas federal district court that rejected a separate request from the same groups for a nationwide injunction.
“Consistency in preventing harmful enforcement of the WOTUS Rule is now only possible if this Court’s preliminary injunction is modified to match the national parties who are plaintiffs before it. The Court should therefore enjoin enforcement of the WOTUS Rule on a nationwide basis, or at minimum in the jurisdictions not already covered by the Court’s or another court’s preliminary injunction,” the motion says.
Wood on June 8 blocked the CWA rule in the states of Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
But the limited scope of that order took on new importance on Aug. 16 when South Carolina district Judge David C. Norton struck down the Trump administration’s addition of a 2020 “applicability date” that suspended enforcement of the Obama-era standard, instantly reviving the rule in every state not covered by an injunction like Wood’s.

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