Gordon Applauds Ruling To Reinstate Trump-Era Water Rules

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By Robert Davis, The Center Square

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon applauded a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Thursday that reinstates a Trump-era clean water rule. 

The rule under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act limits states to denying permits for projects based on direct water-quality concerns only, not other reasons. The rule is still pending ongoing litigation in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“As one of the states who sought and obtained this stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, we look forward to a favorable outcome from the appeal,” Gordon said in a statement. 

The decision split the Supreme Court by a 5-4 margin, with its three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissenting. Writing for the dissenters, Justice Elena Kagan said the petitioners did not prove there are extraordinary circumstances necessary to grant their request. 

“The applicants here have not met our standard because they have failed to substantiate their assertions of irreparable harm,” Kagan wrote. “The Court therefore has no warrant to grant emergency relief.”

The Trump administration moved to curtail the protections under Section 401 in 2020 at the behest of Republicans and the energy industry, the Associated Press reported.

In response, several environmental groups and states sued to keep the rule from going into effect. Republican-led states and oil and gas industry groups intervened, saying the new rule was necessary to increase U.S. energy production. 

The Biden administration asked the court not to reinstate the rule, saying that officials had adapted to the change. It added that another change could “cause substantial disruption and disserve the public interest,” according to the AP. 

The EPA told the AP that its “moving forward with rulemaking to restore state and Tribal authority to protect water resources that are essential to public health, ecosystems, and economic opportunity.”

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