The Congressional Review Act remains bad for policy and worse for democratic deliberation.
Last December, the Biden administration issued a rule defining the scope of the federal government’s authority over streams and wetlands. Congressional Republicans vowed to overturn the rule, using a procedure created by the Congressional Review Act. If Congress is going to repeal something, it should be the Congressional Review Act rather than the Biden rule. …CONTINUE READING
We’re about to find out in an upcoming case.
What wetlands and waterbodies does the Clean Water Act protect? Congress failed to provide a clear answer when it passed the statute, and the issue has been a bone of contention ever since. The Biden Administration is in the process of issuing a new regulation on the subject. Normally, you’d expect the Supreme Court to …CONTINUE READING
The scope of federal jurisdiction over water bodies and wetlands remains as murky as ever.
The Biden Administration announced on Monday that it would not meet a February target date to issue a revised definition of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. It still plans to issue a revised definition later in the year. That sounds like a very technical issue. But it actually determines the extent to which …CONTINUE READING
Trump’s “take no prisoner’s” deregulatory strategy carries big litigation risks.
Some people, it would seem, prefer using an ax to a scalpel. That’s the Trump Administration. That strategy can be a great way to cut down a tree, but it doesn’t work so well for surgery. And there’s always the chance of cutting off your own foot. In many environmental domains, the Administration seems set …CONTINUE READING
Courts Continue to Strike Down Anti-Environmental Actions
While the Trump Administration’s assault on the environment is alarming, courts are continuing to hand the administration an impressive string of losses that mean that, at least in the short term, the assault is much less effective than the administration’s claims of deregulating the economy would lead us all to believe. In just the …CONTINUE READING
G. H. W. Bush Appointee Issues Nationwide Injunction Because Agency Rescinded Prior Rule Without Public Discussion of the Rule’s Merits
Today, Hon. David Norton of the Federal District Court for the District of South Carolina (an appointee of George H. W. Bush) issued a nationwide injunction barring the implementation of the so-called “Suspension Rule” that effectively rescinded the Waters of the United States Rule (also called the WOTUS Rule or the Clean Water Rule) previously issued …CONTINUE READING
California Regulators Can and Should Adopt Strong State Wetlands Protection Rules
For the past year, an overriding concern of many Californians has been whether and how state legislators and regulators can fill the environmental law and policy gap left by a Trump Administration that is in the process of reversing a host of Obama-era environmental rules and that has otherwise largely abandoned the field of environmental …CONTINUE READING
The Administration is Poised to Act, But Legal Challenges, Procedural Hurdles, and Internal Conflict Are Likely to Make It Difficult
On Monday, I posted a quick summary of the Trump administration’s recent action to start rolling back the Clean Water Rule, a joint rule by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that defines the range of waterways the Clean Water Act protects. The proposed action the agencies announced last week, …CONTINUE READING
This Action is Just the First Step Towards Reducing Clean Water Act Protection for Many Waterways and Wetlands
With much fanfare, the Trump administration announced last Tuesday that it is proposing to rescind the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. This rule is intended to govern determinations of which waterbodies and wetlands are “waters of the United States,” protected under the Clean Water Act. The …CONTINUE READING
Supreme Court allows lawsuits early in Clean Water Act permitting process, as Justice Kennedy ominously questions the Act’s reach
The Supreme Court today dealt another blow to the Obama administration in a Clean Water Act case. The Court’s unanimous opinion in United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., No. 15-290, addressed the finality of an Army Corps “approved jurisdictional determination” (JD) on whether a particular parcel of property contains “waters of the …CONTINUE READING