Federal Court Halts EPA Rule

Oct 9, 2015

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has put an Environmental Protection Agency regulation on hold for now. The measure, which would define the reach of federal jurisdiction over waterways under the Clean Water Act, attracted a multi-state lawsuit - one joined by Kentucky Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway.

Credit AP

The issue puts Conway, a Democrat, on the same page as Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who said in a statement Friday the decision is “a welcome setback for an Obama administration agenda based more on ideology than facts.”

The EPA has disputed that interpretation, arguing the new rules are consistent with the best environmental science available. The agency argues the changes would extend more pollution protections to streams and wetlands, but critics smell federal overreach. They worry the regulations will translate to added permitting requirements and more bureaucratic intrusion for farmers and landowners.

In their ruling, a three-judge panel said there is a “substantial possibility” states acting to overturn the regulations in court could prevail and a stay would prevent more confusion in the interim.