Press Release

U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the EPA can evade judicial review

PLF’s latest case at the High Court asks: Can EPA block lawsuits against its ‘Waters of the United States’ land grab?

Washington, D.C.; October 5, 2017: Can federal bureaucrats insulate their regulations from review by arbitrarily restricting their victims’ ability to sue? Can they distort statutory guidelines in a way that limits the public’s access to justice?

These questions will be before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 11, when it hears National Association of Manufacturers v. U.S. Department of Defense.

The case deals with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to curtail review of its “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulation—the sweeping rule that would vastly expand the reach of the Clean Water Act, threatening millions of property owners with unjustified federal oversight.

Pacific Legal Foundation represents a number of farmers, ranchers, and other landowners from across the country who have challenged the WOTUS rule—and who, in this litigation, seek to stop the EPA from unlawfully limiting their right to do so.

“We are asking the justices to reject the EPA’s contortion of the law to shield its land grab from judicial scrutiny,” said PLF Senior Attorney M. Reed Hopper.

Under the terms of the Clean Water Act, people who are harmed by EPA rules like the WOTUS regulation can sue in any federal district court, within six years of the rule’s issuance. But the EPA is trying to require that lawsuits only be filed in federal courts of appeal. Landowners would have just 120 days to file their challenges and all cases would be concentrated in a single appellate court.

“The EPA cannot be allowed to rewrite the law to limit access to the courts,” said Hopper. “Americans who are affected by overzealous bureaucrats must have full freedom to seek the protection of the judiciary.

“Although the WOTUS rule is being revised by the Trump Administration, the outcome of this case is still an urgent matter,” he continued. “Who knows whether revisions will go far enough? Moreover, if the EPA succeeds in blocking lawsuits over the WOTUS rule, other government agencies could use the same ploy to shield their regulations from judicial review.”

“Pacific Legal Foundation fights to defend individual liberty against overreach by the administrative state,” said PLF President and CEO Steven D. Anderson. “As shown by this case, keeping unelected bureaucracies in check requires keeping courts open to their victims.”

More information can be found at: pacificlegal.org/WOTUSvenue.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
PLF litigates nationwide to secure all Americans’ inalienable rights to live responsibly and productively in their pursuit of happiness. PLF combines strategic and principled litigation, communications, and research to achieve landmark court victories enforcing the Constitution’s guarantee of individual liberty.

Case Attorneys

Anthony L. Francois

Senior Attorney

Tony Francois is an attorney in PLF’s Sacramento office, and has litigated cases around the country defending Americans’ property rights from land use and environmental restrictions. He is a member … ›

View profile

M. Reed Hopper

Senior Attorney

Reed Hopper was a Senior Attorney in PLF’s Environmental Law Practice Group. He oversaw the Foundation’s Endangered Species Act Program that is designed to ensure that species protections are balanced … ›

View profile

Case Commentary

See all posts
Post

By Anthony L. Francois

The EPA should get on with Clean Water Act reform

For many years, PLF has served as advocate for ordinary Americans facing byzantine regulation of their land by the EPA’s water bureaucrats. In 2006 our client John Rapanos won his … ›

Read more
Post

By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation update — July 28, 2016

Appeal filed to rescue vaping lawsuit from being sucked into the Swamp When PLF first developed its litigation strategy to challenge unconstitutionally promulgated rules, a core component of that strategy … ›

Read more
Post

By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — June 2, 2018

Happiness is a burger on a warm bun, a cold draft beer and freedom of speech Courts shouldn’t look the other way when federal agencies seize power Congress never gave them … ›

Read more