U.S. top court to mull where challenges to clean water rule can be heard

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By Andrew Chung

<span class="articleLocation”>The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to
resolve a dispute over what court should handle challenges to a
2015 Obama administration regulation that defines waterways
protected under a federal anti-pollution law.

The justices said they would hear an appeal by the National
Association of Manufacturers of a Cincinnati-based federal
appeals court’s ruling that gave itself jurisdiction to review
challenges to the Clean Water Act regulation. The industry group
wants challenges to the rule to be heard in district courts.

What constitutes protected waters is hugely important to
landowners, industry and environmental groups, as well as
government officials.

The legal dispute relates to a provision of the Clean Water
Act that funnels reviews of certain types of government actions
directly to courts of appeals, and others to federal district
courts.

Dozens of agricultural groups, states and municipalities had
sued U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, which adopted the new definition, in
district courts. The challengers contend the agencies’ change
improperly expanded federal regulatory power.

In February 2016, the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled that it had jurisdiction to review the
challenges.

In its petition asking the Supreme Court to take up the
matter, the manufacturers’ association said the fight over what
court should handle the challenges caused needless delay, wasted
valuable resources and is one that only the high court can
resolve.

The case is National Association of Manufacturers v. U.S.
Department of Defense et al, 16-299, in the Supreme Court of the
United States.



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