Mar 02, 2018

Supreme Court Declines Challenges to Water Transfers Rule

By declining to hear the case, the Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's decision to maintain the Water Transfers Rule

Supreme Court rejects Water Transfers Rule hearing

On Feb. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging the U.S. EPA Water Transfers Rule, which allows governments to transfer water between water bodies without protecting against pollution or obtaining a discharge permit. The case was presented by a coalition of seven states led by New York, and environmental groups led by RiverKeeper Inc., according to Reuters.

By rejecting the case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a New York 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from last year, which stated that the EPA’s 2008 Water Transfers Rule was reasonable.

The rule has created discord as New York City supports the regulation, but New York state does not. New York City argues that obtaining permits is costly and unnecessary because water is only being transferred and pollutants are not being added. Business interests dependent on government funded water management systems also support the rule.

“Such water transfers can indisputably add pollutants to the receiving water body–for example, by moving salt water into a freshwater stream, conveying water contaminated with fecal coliform into a pristine lake, or pumping invasive species into uninfected water bodies,” the state coalition, led by New York, told the Court of Appeals in the case last year.