Laguna and Jemez Pueblos Sue EPA over Clean Water Act Rules

Here is the complaint in Pueblo of Laguna v. Regan (D.N.M.):

1 Complaint

An excerpt:

13. The Agencies repealed the 2015 Clean Water Rule and then reversed their longstanding policy by promulgating a new, much narrower interpretation of the “waters of the United States.” Definition of “Waters of the United States” — Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules, 84 Fed. Reg. 56,626 (Oct. 22, 2019) [hereinafter the 2019 Repeal Rule]; The Navigable Waters Protection Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States,” 85 Fed. Reg. 22,250 (Apr. 21, 2020) [hereinafter the 2020 Navigable Waters Rule]. The 2020 Navigable Waters Rule follows the directive of Executive Order 13,778, but without due regard for established law.
14. The 2019 Repeal Rule and 2020 Navigable Waters Rule are inconsistent with both the CWA’s objective of “maintain[ing] the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters” and the Rapanos significant nexus test.
15. The 2019 Repeal Rule and the 2020 Navigable Waters Rule harm the Pueblos by removing federal CWA water pollution protections from many of the ephemeral streams and other waterbodies that sustain the Pueblos. These rules remove CWA protections from 79% to 97% of stream miles in the Pueblo of Laguna. These rules remove CWA protections from 94% of stream miles in the Jemez watershed and 87% of stream miles on Jemez Pueblo trust lands.
16. Where a waterbody is not determined to be a “water of the United States,” the Pueblos alone are left to establish and administer water pollution control programs at their own expense.

17. However, the Pueblos rely on the Agencies to implement nearly all of the CWA’s pollution programs on their behalf and do not have the financial or administrative resources or capacity to administer these programs themselves.

18. Further, both Pueblos rely on the federal jurisdiction of the CWA to protect themselves from upstream pollution.
19. For the Pueblos, high water quality is essential to day-to-day life, as well as
cultural and religious practices.

20. The removal of federal jurisdiction creates the imminent risk of the degradation and destruction of the Pueblos’ waters and would harm the Pueblos’ agriculture, as well as cultural and religious practices.