Monday’s ruling is a big victory for six tribes that had challenged the Trump rule, including the Tohono O’Odham Nation and Pascua-Yaqui Tribe based in Southern Arizona. Other tribes joining the suit were the Quinault Indian Nation, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, and the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
The ruling applies nationally, meaning that unless it’s successfully appealed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps will have to revise the Trump rule to fit this decision. The ruling comes as EPA and the Corps were already working to revise the rule on orders from the Biden White House.
Most at stake in the Tucson area and Arizona in general in this case was federal oversight of ephemeral washes and streams — the most commonly found streams in this arid region.
The Trump-era rule had halted any federal control over development along such washes. If the feds conclude that such jurisdiction exists, a developer, mining company or other business wishing to develop along such washes must obtain a federal Clean Water Act permit to discharge dredge and fill material into the washes.
During the course of the latest lawsuit, EPA and the Corps had agreed to have the 2020 Trump rule sent back to the agencies for revision, but had opposed throwing out the rule outright.