U.S. Chamber Files Lawsuit Against Waters of the U.S. Rule, Joins Chorus of Concern over the Flawed Regulation

Monday, July 13, 2015 - 8:45am

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Portland Cement Association, State Chamber of Oklahoma and Tulsa Regional Chamber, filed a lawsuit late Friday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking to overturn a regulation often referred to as the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule, which would dramatically expand the areas regulated under the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

“Two weeks ago, the EPA adopted the deeply flawed WOTUS rule, ignoring flaws identified by the business community, farmers and agriculture leaders, manufacturers, and other vital stakeholders,” said U.S. Chamber Senior Vice President of Environment, Technology, & Regulatory Affairs William Kovacs. “By redefining what constitutes a ‘water of the United States’ the agency sidestepped the Clean Water Act, Administrative Procedure Act, and the U.S. Constitution.”

The lawsuit alleges that the EPA’s WOTUS rule disrupts the careful balance Congress set forth in the Clean Water Act, which gives the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers the authority to regulate “navigable waters,” but specifically preserves the primary role of the States in planning the development and use of land and water resources.  Further, the Agencies failed to comply with their statutory obligation to assess the economic harm numerous industries and small businesses will suffer because of the regulation.

“The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers failed to conduct any meaningful regulatory or economic impact analyses prior to issuing the final rule. EPA’s regulatory overreach harms American enterprise by creating a vague rule to be implemented within a technically complex, expensive and time-consuming permitting process that will cause unnecessary expense and delay, and force many of our members to walk away from valuable business ventures,” Kovacs added.

To prevent this rule from negatively affecting the economy, the Chamber and NFIB needed to turn to the courts to stop this extraordinary expansion of federal authority. The groups are asking the district court to vacate and set aside the WOTUS rule as invalid.

For more information on the case, please click here.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.