WVFA Fall 2018

I N D U S T R Y N E W S www.wvfa.org Fall 2018 |  West Virginia Forestry Association Mountain State Forestry 15 Waters of U.S. From the National Alliance of Forest Owners “I WANTED YOU ALL TO KNOW THAT, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued the attached preliminary injunction against enforcement of the 2015 waters of the United States definition (WOTUS Rule) in the following states: Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As you may recall, several lawsuits challenging the WOTUS Rule were filed in 2015 in different federal district courts around the country. These states filed in Georgia. No further proceedings are scheduled, but I expect the court to set a schedule for briefing the merits of the case promptly. What does this mean? Currently, the WOTUS is not in effect because EPA adopted a rule in February of this year establishing February 6, 2020 as the date the WOTUS Rule goes into effect, if it has not been replaced by then. As the Georgia court notes, this is not certain protection as there are four lawsuits challenging the February rule and there is no guarantee of a replacement rule. So while the WOTUS is not in effect in your states, you now have the added protection of an injunction. And keep in mind, to issue the injunction, the court found that the plaintiff states are likely to prevail on the merits. This now means that the WOTUS Rule has been enjoined in 24 states—11 here and 13 under a similar order from the North Dakota federal court. This summer, and perhaps as early as this month, EPA is expected to propose repealing the 2015 WOTUS Rule and to separately propose the replacement definition.” 