Right Hooks

Appeals Court Checks EPA's Clean Water Act Interpretation

Now there's mud on its face. Again.

Dan Gilmore · Oct. 11, 2015

In yet another check on the Obama administration’s power, the Appeals Court for the Sixth District ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency needs to stop implementing its encroachment of small waterways nationwide. In August, a federal judge stayed the EPA’s action after a conglomerate of 13 states filed suit. The states took issue with an expanded interpretation of the Clean Water Act that would, in the words of the judge in August, make states “lose their sovereignty over intrastate waters.” The agency responded by saying the stay only applied to the states named in the suit, not the rest of the nation, and continued its implementation. However, the appeals court put that bureaucratic overreach to rest Friday by ruling the stay applied to the whole of the United States. “A stay allows for a more deliberate determination whether this exercise of executive power, enabled by Congress and explicated by the Supreme Court, is proper under the dictates of federal law,” the court wrote. How about a little humility, EPA? This legal smackdown comes as the EPA triggered yet another wastewater spill from a mine in Colorado. The agency assumed that any questions of its actions would not be legitimate. Now there’s mud on its face from more than one direction.

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