ARTBA joins lawsuit against WOTUS

Updated Jul 12, 2018

Highway with yellow stripeThe American Road & Transportation Builders Association was one of 17 industry associations that filed a motion June 29, to join a lawsuit regarding the implementation of a 2015 Obama administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, The Brunswick News reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood issued an order on June 8 to stop enforcement of the rule within 11 states that are suing — Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah, and West Virginia.

The rule had already been suspended by former federal Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt through 2020, but states that are parties to the Southern District lawsuit want the courts to act now. In a June hearing, Georgia Solicitor-General Sarah Hawkins said the rule violates the states’ rights to control their own land and water.

According to the news agency, the motion states, “On the one hand, a ruling in favor of the defendants here could ultimately subject the proposed business intervenors and their members to increased — and possibly inconsistent — regulatory burdens, inhibiting their productive use and enjoyment of lands and imposing significant costs for compliance. Indeed, the proposed business intervenors and their members have already incurred substantial costs in anticipation that the 2015 rule may take effect. On the other hand, a favorable outcome vacating the 2015 rule would directly impact the business intervenor’s actions pending before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York and South Carolina, given that the applicability date (2020) rule amends the 2015 rule.”

Another group led by the National Wildlife Federation and One Hundred Miles filed Monday filed a motion to intervene with the intent to appeal Wood’s order granting the preliminary injunction.

According to the news agency, the filing states, “Because the time period to appeal the preliminary injunction order is limited, in the event the court has not issued a ruling on the conservation groups’ pending renewed motion to intervene as the end of the time period to appeal approaches, (the) conservation groups will be forced to treat the inaction of as a constructive denial of this motion and jointly appeal the constructive denial with the preliminary injunction.”