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District Court Ruling Rebukes Controversial Obama-Era “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

Mon, August 26, 2019 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

In yet another U.S. District Court opinion, the judiciary has weighed-in to chastise a controversial Obama-Era rulemaking on the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) as being an overly expansive grab of power.  Judge Lisa Godbey Wood noted that while EPA has authority to interpret the phrase ‘‘waters of the U.S.” that authority isn’t limitless; writing in her stinging rebuke “. . . vast expansion of jurisdiction over waters and land traditionally within the states’ regulatory authority cannot stand.”  CIRT applauds this new ruling, which is in keeping with its comment on the subject including the conclusion that furthers the importance of states rights in the face of overreaching by unelected, and often times unaccountable, federal bureaucrats. [See, Stories on CIRT’s views regarding this matter].

The hotly debated 2015 EPA rulemaking has been under scrutiny by the Trump Administration, which has sought to find a more restricted definition, one that is more consistent with long held views taking into account a proper understanding of the constraining phrase passed by Congress in the Clean Waters Act (CWA) that adds the modifier “navigable.”  As court states: “inclusion of all interstate waters in the definition of ‘waters of the United States,’ regardless of navigability, extends [the federal government’s] jurisdiction beyond the scope of the CWA because it reads the term navigability out of the CWA.”  

To put this matter to rest, U.S. Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) recently introduced a bill entitled “Define WOTUS Act,” which seeks to reassert Congressional authority and responsibility over the definitions of terms, like “waters of the United States.’

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