A three-judge panel from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a bid by several states, led by Georgia, to have their challenge to the Obama administration’s June 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule heard by the court.
The rule’s numerous critics include construction groups that say it significantly expands federal agencies’ authority to regulate when a wetlands permit is required under the Clean Water Act. Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deny that the rule expands their authority; they say it merely clarifies the definition of “waters of the U.S.”
The 11th Circuit Court panel on Aug. 16 ruled that the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals already has made progress on consolidating the many legal challenges to the rule.
“It would be a colossal waste of judicial resources for both this Court and the Sixth Circuit to undertake to decide the same issues about the same rule presented by the same parties,” the judges wrote in their decision.