ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Legal Newsline) – The New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association has filed suit against the federal government over the interpretation of "navigable waters" as it relates to The Clean Water Act.
The New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association filed a complaint Oct. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Assistant Secretary for Civil Works for the Department of the Army R.D. James, alleging they have exceeded statutory authority and violated the U.S. Constitution.
The suit concerns regulations adopted in 1986 by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers that broadly interpreted the term "navigable waters" and the 2015 replacement regulations reinterpreted the navigable waters definition. The suit states the 2015 regulations were repealed in October.
"Plaintiff asks this court to declare that several provisions of the Clean Water Act, the 1986 regulations, and related guidance are statutorily and constitutionally invalid, and to enjoin their enforcement," the suit states.
The plaintiff's members own/operate property along waterways in New Mexico, the suit states.
"Plaintiff’s members are injured by the 1986 regulations and related guidance as
readopted by the Repeal and Recodify Rule because they hold beneficial interests in property that
is or will be subject to increased federal regulatory control under the 1986 regulations and
guidance," the suit states. "This will require them to seek federal permit approval at significant cost to use their property for its intended purpose."
The plaintiff alleges it submitted comments objecting the re-adoption of the 1986 regulations. The plaintiff alleges the 1986 regulations have been invalidated in part by the U.S. Supreme Court and are illegal
The plaintiff seeks monetary relief and all other just relief. It is represented by Anthony Francois and Mollie Williams of The Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, California.
U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico case number 1:19-cv-00988-JHR-SCY