Monthly Archives: February 2016

Sixth Circuit Retains Jurisdiction over Challenges to Clean Water Rule

By Max E. Bridges

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that it has jurisdiction to review challenges to the “Clean Water Rule.” As previously detailed on this blog, the Clean Water Rule was promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to clarify and expand the reach of the Clean Water Act which is controlled by the phrase “waters of the United States.” But there has been intense opposition to the rule and it is now subject to more than 20 separate challenges filed by numerous states and interest groups. A number of these challenges were consolidated in the Sixth Circuit and in October, the Sixth Circuit stayed the rule nationwide, concluding that the challengers demonstrated a “substantial possibility of success.”

In yesterday’s decision, the Sixth Circuit panel concluded that it has jurisdiction to hear the consolidated challenges to the Clean Water Rule under Sixth Circuit precedent and 33 U.S.C. § 1369(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act. Unless the EPA or the Army Corps can obtain a hearing on this jurisdiction question before all of the Judges of the Sixth Circuit and/or it’s reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and in either case, have the decision overturned, the Sixth Circuit will be the first court to decide the validity of the Clean Water Rule.

 

Supreme Court Stays the Clean Power Plan

By Max E. Bridges

Supreme Court 2Yesterday, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of the Obama Administration’s “Clean Power Plan,” regulations promulgated to limit CO2 emissions from the electric power sector.  A coalition of 27 states is challenging the regulations in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; this is the first time the Supreme Court has stayed a regulation before the Court of Appeals completed its review.  The Supreme Court’s Order issuing the stay says it will remain in effect until the Court of Appeals has ruled on the coalition’s challenge, and if the coalition subsequently petitions the Supreme Court to consider the regulations, when the Supreme Court has either denied that petition or granted the petition and issued its own decision.  As a result, the regulations likely will not become effective, if ever, before the President leaves office. As previously discussed on this blog, the Clean Power Plan is designed to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, and each state has individual emission goals.