Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. EPA (WOTUS Rule - Oklahoma District Court)

U.S. District Court - Northern District of Oklahoma

District court puts challenges to 2015 WOTUS rule on hold while the EPA completes its rulemaking process to rescind the 2015 rule

March 9, 2018

The Trump administration also has enacted a rule to delay the effective date for the 2015 WOTUS rule until 2020.

Click here to view the order.

Tenth Circuit reverses district court’s dismissal on jurisdictional grounds of U.S. Chamber’s challenge to Obama administration’s WOTUS rule; remands to district court for further proceedings

February 20, 2018

President Trump signs executive order instructing reconsideration of WOTUS rule

February 28, 2017

U.S. Chamber’s district court WOTUS rule lawsuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; Chamber files appeal

February 24, 2016

Less than twenty-four hours after the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma surprisingly dismissed the Chamber’s district court lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction.  Remarkably—and unusually—the district court did not even wait for the government to file a motion to dismiss the case following the Sixth Circuit’s decision.  Nor did the court give the Chamber a chance to respond that the district court has an independent obligation to assess its own jurisdiction.  Instead, the court’s brief order asserted that the Sixth Circuit’s decision “speaks for itself that jurisdiction is appropriate only in the appellate courts” and concluded that “it is unnecessary to wait for any party for file a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.”

Subsequently, the U.S. Chamber filed an appeal before the Tenth Circuit

U.S. Chamber files lawsuit challenging EPA’s WOTUS rule

July 16, 2015

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along with the National Federation of Independent BusinessPortland Cement AssociationState Chamber of Oklahoma and Tulsa Regional Chamber, filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking to overturn a regulation often referred to as the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule, which would dramatically expand the areas regulated under the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit alleges that the EPA’s WOTUS rule disrupts the careful balance Congress set forth in the Clean Water Act, which gives the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers the authority to regulate interstate navigable waters but specifically preserves the primary role of the States in planning the development and use of local land and water resources. The lawsuit also alleges that the Agencies failed to comply with their statutory obligation to assess the economic harm numerous industries and small businesses will suffer because of the regulation.  

James P. McCann, John J. Carwile, and Mary E. Kindelt of McDonald, McCann, Metcalf & Carwile, LLP served as co-counsel for the U.S. Chamber, et al. in this case, as well as Michael H. Park, William S. Consovoy, Thomas R. McCarthy, and J. Michael Connolly of Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC.

Procedural History

U.S. Chamber, et al. filed complaint 7/10/2015 in the Northern District of Oklahoma.  

Defendant's Motion to Stay granted on 7/31/2015. 

U.S. Chamber, et al. brief opposing consolidation filed 8/19/2015. 

Argued 10/1/2015.

Order of stay issued 10/9/2015. 

Order denying transfer issued 10/13/2015.

U.S. Chamber, et al. opposition brief to EPA's motion to stay proceedings filed 10/29/2015. EPA's reply brief filed 11/12/2015.

U.S. Chamber, et al. notice of supplemental authority filed 11/12/2015.

Case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on 2/24/2016.

U.S. Chamber, et al. notice of appeal filed in the Tenth Circuit on 4/19/2016.