Description: Challenge to the revised definition of "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act.
Pascua Yaqui Tribe v. EPA
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 04/30/2021 Motion to Intervene Download Unopposed motion to intervene filed by trade asssociations. 04/12/2021 Order Download Motion to hold case in abeyance denied. Arizona Federal Court Declined to Put Challenge to Trump “Waters of the United States” Rule on Hold . The federal district court for the District of Arizona denied EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ motion to hold in abeyance a case challenging the Trump administration’s rules defining “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The court was persuaded by the plaintiffs’ arguments that ongoing implementation of the Trump administration’s 2020 rule defining “waters of the United States” would cause damage to the plaintiffs “with an interest in the integrity of the nation’s waters” and that the federal defendants failed to establish “a clear case of hardship or inequity in being required to go forward.” Therefore, “[b]ecause an abeyance of this litigation may result in damage to Plaintiffs or others and there is no indication that agency review of the challenged rule will be completed within a reasonable time, the Court does not find that an abeyance is appropriate.” 06/22/2020 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Two More Lawsuits Raise Climate Change Issue in New “Waters of the United States” Definition. Two additional lawsuits challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA’s revised definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) contended that the adoption of the definition violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to consider climate change. The new lawsuits, this one in the District of Arizona and the other in the Western District of Washington, alleged that the agencies’ “decision to narrow the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act and to base the final rule on the permanence of surface flow in a typical year without considering the effects of climate change is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” At least two other lawsuits challenging the WOTUS rule—California v. Wheeler and Conservation Law Foundation v. EPA—have also challenged this aspect of the definition.