Press Releases

Press Releases

NAM Notches Win Against 2015 WOTUS Rule in Federal Court

Ruling Protects Manufacturers’ Right to a Fair and Transparent Rulemaking Process for Major Regulations

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers Vice President for Litigation and Deputy General Counsel Peter Tolsdorf released the following statement after the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 Waters of the United States rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act:

For nearly four years, the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action has battled the overreaching WOTUS rule in the courts, and manufacturers have claimed another important victory, said Tolsdorf. The court’s ruling protects manufacturers’ right to a fair and transparent rulemaking process for significant environmental rules with multibillion-dollar impacts.

This rule was unreasonable on its face—it was a water regulation that went so far as to attempt to regulate dry land. This made compliance nearly impossible and put manufacturing jobs at serious risk. Manufacturers will continue to fight for fair, clear regulations that empower us to be responsible stewards of the environment while continuing to grow the U.S. economy.

In October, the NAM filed a motion for summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to invalidate the 2015 WOTUS rule.

Specifically, the court found that the EPA did not provide the public with reasonable notice and an opportunity to comment on the final rule’s definition of jurisdictional “adjacent waters.” The court also concluded that the EPA violated the APA by releasing the technical basis for the proposed rule only after the public notice and comment period had closed.

The NAM’s legal arm, the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, has been in active litigation against the rule since July 2015, helping lead a large coalition of business groups to sue the EPA. Arcane procedural obstacles prevented the courts from hearing the merits of our legal challenge for several years. In early 2018, however, the MCLA scored a significant legal victory before the U.S. Supreme Court, which resolved those issues and has allowed litigation against the substance of the rule to proceed. The MCLA is also challenging the rule in a separate federal court in Georgia and has filed supporting amicus briefs in other legal challenges to the rule. To learn more about the MCLA, click here.


The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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