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Clean Water Rule or Water of The US Rule (WOTUS) Put On Hold

If you have not seen the news concerning the Clean Water Rule or Waters of the US Rule (WOTUS), the Judges in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit put the Rule on hold or STAYED the Rule.  The opinion of two of the three Judges was as follows:

“Accordingly, on due review of the relevant considerations in light of the briefs filed by petitioners, respondents and intervenors, and in the exercise of our discretion, we GRANT petitioners’ motion for stay. The Clean Water Rule is hereby STAYED, nationwide, pending further order of the court.”

There was one Judge that gave a dissenting opinion and his reads “One of the issues in this case is whether this court has exclusive jurisdiction to review the Rule in the first instance. We can enjoin implementation of the Rule if we determine that we have jurisdiction. But until that question is answered, our subject-matter jurisdiction is in doubt, and I do not believe we should stay implementation of the Clean Water Rule. Because subject-matter jurisdiction is a threshold determination, I do not reach the merits of the petitioners’ motion.”

If you would like to read the complete ruling for yourself it can be found at       http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/15a0246p-06.pdf        

As a little history, back on 27 August 2015 (official start date of the Rule was 28 August 2015), a North Dakota Judge granted a stay for the suit filed in court by 13 western states.  That ruling only applied to those 13 states in the suit.  This ruling applies to all states until a further decision is made by the court.

What I see all of this meaning is that for now the new definitions of “waters of the US” are on hold, but we need to continue working with farmers to implement best management practices to protect water resources on their farms and downstream of their farms.  This will include reducing erosion and staying a safe distance from waterbodies when spraying and when applying fertilizers (manure or commercial).