By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory affairs, ARTBA

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Oct. 10 about what federal court level is appropriate to resolve disputes arising from the federal Clean Water Act.

ARTBA and others challenging the 2015 “Waters of the United Sates” (WOTUS) rule asserted that it should be defended at the federal district court level, which is closer to where the regulation impacts local projects and landowners. Also, proceedings that begin in district court have more possibilities for appeal and, therefore, a better chance at reaching a correct decision.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed that requiring such disputes to start in district court is inefficient and wastes judicial resources. The agency said cases should begin in federal appellate courts.

There is no timetable for a Supreme Court decision, which will impact future legal challenges sure to face the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal and revise WOTUS.