Today, the State of Tennessee joined in one of the many lawsuits filed by States challenging the EPA and Corps of Engineers Final Rule that defines of Waters of the United States under the federal Clean Water Act. See prior blog post on July 2, 2015. The federal agencies stated in their Final Rule that they had actually narrowed the definition but most agricultural and industry groups believe the Final Rule will do the opposite. Tennessee joined the lawsuit already filed in the United States District Court of Ohio by the States of Ohio and Michigan. Tennessee’s foray into the litigation marks what is believed to be the 30th state to join in a lawsuit challenging the Final Rule (the count goes up regularly). No states have yet asked to intervene on behalf of the government. The lawsuit seeks to have the court vacate the rule permanently and require the agencies to start over. The states allege in the lawsuit that the agencies were in “violation of the structural federalism provisions of the United States Constitution Including the Tenth Amendment.” According to the lawsuit the government’s position “would result in a significant impingement of the States’ traditional and primary power over land and water use, . . . and would exceed the Commerce Clause powers of the federal government and violate the Tenth Amendment.”
All Region IV states except North Carolina have now joined in one of the various lawsuits.