WASHINGTON D.C. — Members of the U.S. House and Senate filed an amicus brief Tuesday, asking the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the Administration’s final Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which was jointly issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last year. The brief was filed in support of thirty-one states and twelve municipal and industry petitioners with a pending case against the rule, and was signed by sixty-seven Members of Congress and twenty-one Senators.
The WOTUS rule has been controversial since its initial proposal, with many stakeholders opposing it as a jurisdictional overreach and inappropriate expansion of federal authority over bodies of water not previously controlled by the federal government. The rulemaking process itself was also derided as insufficient for receiving meaningful input from state and local governments and even unlawful as the Government Accountability Office ruled EPA’s social media campaign seeking public support for the rule to be “covert propaganda.” A number of lawsuits were filed once the rule was finalized, and attempts have also been made to block implementation through the federal budget process. Implementation of the rule is currently enjoined until the Court reaches a final decision on the lawsuit.