A U.S. federal appeals court temporarily halted the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday from implementing the “Waters of the United States,” a controversial regulation of the Clean Water Act that critics considered yet another federal power grab over state’s waters.
Eighteen states including Alabama, sued the federal government earlier this year contesting that the rule goes too far and could be costly to landowners, as it expands the definition of bodies of water subject to federal pollution controls and development.
Issued on a 2-1 vote from the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit, the order was a preliminary victory for the for a group states, and put the regulations on hold nationwide until the court decides whether it has jurisdiction to consider lawsuits against said regulations.
“A stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new Rule and whether they will survive legal testing,” said the court’s order signed by Judges David McKeague and Richard Griffin.
Here’s what Alabama officials have to say about the court’s ruling:
Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-01) on Facebook:
Many of you have probably heard me talk about the EPA’s “Waters of the US” rule and the negative impact it would have on Alabama’s farmers. Well today we got some good news when a federal judge delayed the law from taking effect. This is a major victory over the heavy hand of government.
Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) in an email:
This is good news for Alabama farmers, foresters and really property rights in general. I’ve heard from countless individuals in Alabama who are under threat of being aggressively and unnecessarily penalized by federal water regulators. Though temporary, the Court’s ruling is a relief for them and a win for our Constitutional separation of powers.
Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-04) on Facebook:
This is great news for farmers across the 4th District and Alabama. This was another example of executive overreach.
Rep. Mo Brooks (AL-05) on Facebook:
Today’s ruling to halt the EPA’s misguided #WOTUS rule is a win for America’s farmers and landowners. I have been an outspoken critic of this extreme federal overreach while serving on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee and am pleased to see the courts recognizing the havoc this regulation would inflict across the nation.
Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) in a press release:
I am pleased that the Sixth Circuit has placed a stay on this onerous rule,” Palmer said. “It is well beyond the authority that Congress delegated to the EPA. This rule would allow the EPA to regulate almost any body of water, even ditches and isolated bodies on private land. This rule faces strong legal challenges. A nationwide stay ensures this rule is not implemented while litigation is ongoing, which will protect the American economy from EPA’s overreach.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange:
I am gratified that the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted the request of Alabama and 17 other states for a nationwide stay of the EPA’s flawed WOTUS rule pending the new environmental rule’s review in federal court,” said Attorney General Strange.
The WOTUS rule is an unprecedented power grab by the EPA that practically extends to every landowner’s property and is so far-reaching and overly broad that even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has expressed serious concerns about its ability to be enforced.
Alabama and the rest of the country are now given protection from the controversial new rule while it is being fought by our coalition of states in federal court