SCOTUS: Big Win on WOTUS Lawsuits
WASHINGTON, DC: Today, in a critical win for American property owners, SLF’s clients, and the Constitution, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot evade judicial review by limiting where and when its victims can sue - a critical check on federal regulatory power, and an important affirmation that Congress means what it says in the law.
In 2015, SLF filed several lawsuits challenged the Obama-era WOTUS Rule – a new definition of “waters of the United States” that gives the federal government control over every pond, ditch, and puddle. In other words, the power-hungry Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unilaterally claimed jurisdiction over nearly every piece of property in America.
SLF’s lawsuits quickly came to a standstill when EPA argued that its victims could not challenge its power grab in district courts. Rather, they had to sue in the courts of appeal and had only 120 days to file suit (verses the 6 years they would have in district court). EPA’s position was nothing more than an attempt to foreclose the American public from challenging its unconstitutional action. SLF argued, and today the Supreme Court agreed, that Congress intended for challenges to the WOTUS Rule to be fought first in our district courts.
So, what does this mean for you? It means that as a property owner, you can now bring your lawsuit against the EPA closer to where you live or conduct business, which makes sense because how water is sourced and used in one area of the country is vastly different than in another. It also means that you have 6 years to bring a challenge, rather than 120 days. While this is a huge win, the challenge against the WOTUS Rule and the Obama EPA’s unconstitutional action is not over. For the last several months, SLF has been working with the EPA to rescind the Obama WOTUS Rule and rewrite the definition of “waters of the United States” in a way that respects private property rights, principles of federalism, and our Constitution. More to follow -
Click here for SCOTUS decision on WOTUS Litigation