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braid of the Snake River

EPA Can Enforce Clean Water Rule in States That Didn’t Sue, Judge Says

braid of the Snake RiverA judge’s ruling that blocked the Clean Water Rule from taking effect late last month only applies to the 13 states that sued to stop the rule — not nationwide.

A federal judge in North Dakota clarified the injunction he issued at the request of North Dakota and 12 other states, the Associated Press reports.

The rule, authored by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, expands the reach of the Clean Water Act to protect US streams and wetlands from pollution.

The EPA said US District Judge Ralph Erickson’s injunction only applied to the 13 states — Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming — and had begun enforcing it in other states, which argued the judge’s ruling should apply across the US.

“No harm, no foul for North Dakota and the 12 other states,” North Dakota attorney general Wayne Stenehjem, who filed the original lawsuit on behalf of those states, told the AP. “It’s unfortunate for the other states because they will have to abide by the ruling.”

While the EPA says the Clean Water Rule will make permitting less costly, easier and faster for businesses and industry as it more precisely defines protected waters, industries including agriculture, oil and home-building have said the rule will add additional permitting and regulatory requirements.

Photo Credit: braid of the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, via Shutterstock

 

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