Sixth Circuit Court Blocks EPA Water Rule Nationwide
SALT LAKE CITY Oct. 9, 2015 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes today issued a statement after the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted a motion that blocks the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing a new rule that unlawfully expands the federal government’s regulatory reach over farms, land and small streams. In conjunction with other states, the Utah Office of the Attorney General successfully briefed the Sixth Circuit challenging this rule – which redefines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act, oversteps states’ rights and harms businesses and landowners. In granting the stay, the Court described the rule as ‘facially suspect.’
“In joint effort with other states, our office successfully challenged the EPA water rule – which is not only unlawful but would subject Utah homeowners and others to a costly new set of complicated, burdensome federal regulations,” stated Attorney General Reyes.
Utah’s related case is currently being litigated in three different courts: the Sixth Circuit, which issued the order today; the Eleventh Circuit; and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL), which sits in New York for the purposes of this case.
The Eleventh Circuit is hearing Utah’s appeal of our original case brought with other states in the Western District of Georgia. In that case, the district court denied the preliminary injunction motion because there is a legal question whether district courts or appellate courts have original jurisdiction over such matters. The district court denied the motion for lack of jurisdiction, but was otherwise sympathetic.
The JPMDL is deciding whether all the cases nationwide should be consolidated and if so – where. It will place it in the Sixth Circuit if the jurisdictional question it is already considering has courts of appeal with original jurisdiction over the cases. If it decides that a district court should hear it, the state of Utah has asked it either be placed in North Dakota (where a district court entered an injunction like the one in the Sixth Circuit) or in the Western District of Georgia (given Utah has completely briefed the consideration of the preliminary injunction in its case there).