The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a ruling on March 19 blocking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing a final rule published by the agencies on Jan. 18 that revises the definition of Waters of the United States, but only in the states of Texas and Idaho. The ruling, the result of a lawsuit led by the Texas and Idaho attorneys general, separately rejected a request to block enforcement nationwide.
The final rule, which defines the scope of waters subject to Clean Water Act regulation, repealed the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which ABC supported, and codified a definition that reflects the pre-2015 regulatory regime that the agencies are currently implementing. ABC joined a coalition opposing the rule, submitting comments outlining how it fails to provide unambiguous water quality protections that provide clarity for contractors seeking to safeguard the environment and comply with federal regulations.
The final rule took effect on March 20 outside of Texas and Idaho. Multiple other lawsuits against the final rule, including one led by 24 additional state attorneys general, are ongoing and may lead to further preliminary injunctions blocking enforcement of the WOTUS rule.