Friday, September 04, 2015

Judge keeps water-rule order limited to 13 states

A federal judge in North Dakota has declined to make nationwide his ruling that has blocked in 13 states the Environmental Protection Agency's redefinition of "waters of the United States," perhaps the most important term in the Clean Water Act.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson's injunction against the WOTUS rule came in a lawsuit filed by the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. "His decision conflicted with other district court rulings in other lawsuits, including one brought by 11 different states," Jeremy P. Jacobs and Annie Snider report for Greenwire. "EPA and the Army contended that the injunction only applied to those 13 states," and "argued that a national injunction was unwarranted, in part because several states have indicated their support for the rule. . . . The agencies put the rule into effect as planned for the remaining 37 on Aug. 28."

The 13 states and the American Farm Bureau Federation said the injunction should apply nationwide, but Erickson rejected the states' motion for that Friday. "Four courts have denied preliminary injunctions in cases on the issue before the court," he noted. "Seven states and the District of Columbia have moved to intervene on behalf of the agencies in the consolidated matter before the Sixth Circuit" Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati.

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