New WOTUS Rule Appears Headed to the Courts

Environmental groups and Democratic states are already promising to sue over the new Waters of the U.S. Rule, which the Trump administration calls the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule.” The conservative-leaning Pacific Legal Foundation made a similar promise, calling the new rule not narrow enough. If the challenges happen to make it to the Supreme Court, the administration is banking on being able to win the backing of five of the justices who have a novel interpretation of the limits of federal power laid out under the Clean Water Act. Legal experts tell Politico that it’s a gamble that could result in a lasting win for the administration and its allies or a “spectacular loss.” Janette Brimmer, an attorney for the northwest office of Earthjustice, joined other environmentalists in calling the new rule “the dirty water rule.” She says, “President Trump’s administration wants our waters to burn again.” The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says, “The administration’s new definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ unravels safeguards in place since the landmark Clean Water Act first went into effect in 1972.”