Earlier this week, a western Washington judge reinstated WOTUS. The Judge ruled the Trump Administration’s EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers made a “serious procedural error” by rolling back the 2015 legislation.
The agencies took comments earlier this year on delaying the Obama administration’s definition until at least February 2020. But as Capital Press noted, EPA and the Army Corp did not take comments on the substance of the pre-2015 rule. The judge says the move had the practical effect of changing the Waters of the U.S. Rule without public comment, which violated the Administrative Procedures Act.
The western Washington judge says his ruling vacates the pre-2015 WOTUS rule nationwide. A federal judge in South Carolina in August made a similar ruling prohibiting the Trump administration from delaying implementing the Obama WOTUS rule.
The Puget Soundkeeper Alliance brought the lawsuit against the EPA. The American Farm Bureau Federation intervened on the side of the EPA.
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