As reported earlier, Florida has joined a number of states in filing a motion for a preliminary injunction regarding the joint EPA/ACOE Waters of the U.S. Final Rule.   According to news reports, a total of twenty-nine states have filed similar lawsuits against the EPA.  Motion practice continues in Florida’s case, filed in the Southern District of Georgia, with the EPA filing a motion to stay and associated responses and replies.   

 

In addition to state opposition, more than a dozen national agricultural and production organizations have also filed suit against EPA, including the National Alliance of Forest Owners, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, and Public Lands Council.

 

Congress is also taking notice.  Three senators from the Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and subcommittee chairmen, Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), have demanded answers from the EPA regarding its actions to rig public input with YouTube videos, Twitter accounts, and other social media marketing tools.  More than a hundred representatives signed on to a letter sent to the Office of the Inspector General to investigate EPA's solicitation of public comments on the rule.  The letter alleges that "EPA apparently used an assortment of social media campaigns to solicit comments" and partnered with green groups to promote the rule. In a press statement Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) indicated that anti-lobbying statutes and U.S. Department of Justice guidelines may have been violated.

 

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has also recently released memos that apparently show that the Army Corps of Engineers doesn't believe the rule will withstand legal scrutiny.   One such memo from General Peabody to the Assistant Secretary of the Army reads "Corps data to EPA has been selectively applied out of context, and mixes terminology and disparate data sets," and that "In the Corps judgement, these documents contain numerous inappropriate assumptions with no connection to the data provided, misapplied data, analytical deficiencies and logical inconsistencies." 

 

Stay tuned.