New Jersey joins the fight for Obama-era water protections
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has joined nine other states in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the federal agency’s suspension of the Clean Water Rule, an Obama-era regulation that expanded federal clean water protections NJ.com is reporting.
The federal Clean Water Act gives the EPA authority to enforce clean water protections in bodies of water considered “waters of the United States.” The Clean Water Rule expanded protections by broadly defining Waters of the U.S. as both navigable waters and the waters that flow into them, the article explains.
The Clean Water Rule was scheduled to go into effect in August 2015, but legal challenges prevented the rule from being implemented. According to the article, the rule was blocked by a federal appeals court in October 2015, but a Supreme Court ruling on Jan. 22 sent the issue back to federal district courts and the Obama-era rule was set go into effect soon after.
On Jan. 31, however, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt formally ordered the suspension of the rule.
As stated in the article, the complaint’s main argument is that the EPA acted outside its authority by suspending the rule after its effective date. The complaint also argues that the EPA didn't give the public enough time to comment on the suspension and that the EPA failed to consider its own scientific findings.