New U.S. Clean Water Rule Put on Hold by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit

Friday, October 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit issued an order to put a hold on a new federal water rule. The rule, finalized in May by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and published in June, expanded the EPA’s jurisdiction of the Waters of the United States to dry creek beds, prairie wetlands and other areas not previously subject to federal control under the Clean Water Act.

18 states have challenged the new standards. Opposition has come from property owners and businesses who did not previously have to abide by CWA standards, which regulate the release of pollutants into U.S. waters and quality standards for surface waters. They argue the rule is overreaching, and there is concern that it could apply to ditches and small isolated bodies of water.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has granted a nationwide stay against the rule. The stay allows for more consideration of these issues and to determine whether this is a proper exercise of executive power. The 6th Circuit is still deciding whether it has the authority to handle these challenges or if they must first be reviewed at the district court level.