OK, here’s the background. Once upon a time, the Obama administration decided to implement a ruling – without the input of Congress, mind you – that defined ““waters of the U.S.” to include virtually any wet area — even a rain-fed temporary pool — that is close to any other body of water with a physical connection to a navigable waterway.” As you can imagine, this was and is a massive attempt to extend the reach of the regulatory State into areas that they do not traditionally have the ability to go into. By making essentially all waters federal waters, federal bureaucrats are then free to institute regulations and fines and exemptions and all the rest.
This naturally offended people. And more importantly, quite a few state governments, which is why there are multiple lawsuits involving this new rule. A judge in North Dakota had already temporarily shut down the regulation in selected states, but the EPA (read: ‘the Obama administration’) decided that the injunction only applied to the specific states, not the entire thing.
Well, now the entire thing is on hold: “This morning a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a nationwide stay against the enforcement of a regulation issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers defining the scope of the “waters of the United States” subject to federal regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).” As Jonathan Adler noted in that Washington Post link, the fact that there was already a stay in over a dozen states factored into the decision to impose a stay nationwide. Jonathan is too polite to say “and never mind what the Obama administration thinks:” I, of course, am not. Either way, this case will now continue to wend its way to the Supreme Court. Whether or not it makes it there before we have a new President is, of course, another question.