Of the more than seventy plaintiffs and ten suits challenging the Corps and EPA’s illicit rule broadening the definition of “waters of the United States,” that federalizes most waters in the Nation and much of the land, PLF represents landowners, farmers, ranchers and small businesses from seven states, including: The Washington Cattlemen’s Association; California Cattlemen’s Association; Oregon Cattlemen’s Association; New Mexico Cattle Growers Association; New Mexico Wool Growers; New Mexico Federal Lands Council; Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties for Stable Economic Growth; Duarte Nursery; Pierce Investment Company; LPF Properties; and Hawkes Company. Yesterday, PLF joined with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, the National Federation of Independent Business, and others in a joint brief opposing the motion of the Corps and EPA to consolidate these ten suits in a single court of the government’s choosing.
We oppose the consolidation citing Supreme Court precedent that it’s in the public interest for many courts to weigh in on significant national issues (such as broad federal regulation) so as to provide the High Court with different legal perspectives and a full airing of the issues and arguments the cases may present. According to the Supreme Court, differing, even conflicting, opinions are helpful in resolving important legal questions. However, the Corps and EPA would like to avoid Supreme Court review of the “waters of the United States” rule by limiting all challenges to a single court and a single opinion so no conflict exists for the Supreme Court to resolve. And no wonder. On two prior occasions, the Supreme Court rejected federal regulation of the very “waters” the Corps and EPA seek to regulate under their new rule.
We believe the government’s motion for consolidation is self-serving and contrary to the public interest and the motion should be rejected. A hearing is scheduled on this motion for October 1, 2015.