Supreme Court Will Hear WOTUS Case

This ruling could impact retailers located near a protected body of water.
April 05, 2017

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court decided this week that it will continue hearing a case related to the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule, E&E News reports. The justices declined to uphold the Department of Justice’s motion to stop litigation while the Trump administration considers changing or rescinding the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

The Supreme Court case revolves around whether legal challenges to WOTUS should be dealt with in appeals courts or federal district courts. Petitioners filed more than a dozen WOTUS lawsuits in district courts and more than 20 WOTUS petitions for review in federal appeals courts. Last February, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that appeals courts had jurisdiction on matters related to the Clean Water Act. However, one of the plaintiffs, the National Association of Manufacturers, wanted to keep the matter at the local district court level and appealed the court’s decision up to the Supreme Court.

The justices put the case on their docket in early January. Then in March, the Trump administration requested the court to halt the case after an executive order tasked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider the joint rule.

Why should convenience stores care about WOTUS? “Because WOTUS affects c-stores,” Anna Ready, NACS director of government relations, told NACS Daily. “If a store is near or touching a protected water, then that retailer will be subject to special permitting and Clean Water Act requirements.”