Recently, the southeastern United States was slammed by a monster storm—Hurricane Matthew. The destructive hurricane created significant storm surges and caused severe flooding along much of the Atlantic coast. When major flooding occurs, underground storage tank (UST) systems can lift out of the ground, rupture, and release oil or other regulated substances. A single UST release can ruin adjacent private property and rack up huge compliance and enforcement costs.
Industry and many states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide a critical jurisdictional matter related to the Clean Water Rule ((CWR), June 29, 2015, Federal Register (FR) promulgated by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). More commonly called the waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, the action provided the most specific and possibly most expansive definitions yet of which waters are WOTUS. While challenges to the WOTUS rule will ultimately be based on arguments concerning the merits—that is, whether contents of the rule itself are legal—the question of whether the federal district courts or the federal circuit courts should hear those challenges needs to be settled first.