Federal judge blocks #CleanWaterRules

Fen photo via the USFS
Fen photo via the USFS

From the Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

A federal judge in North Dakota on Thursday granted a request by Colorado and 12 other states and blocked a federal rule that aims to extend the agencies’ authority to over small streams and wetlands.

The rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers aims to redefine the legal description of the “waters of the United States,” known as WOTUS under the Clean Water Act, to include water that’s adjacent to navigable rivers and also water that may fill a normally dry streambed after a heavy rainstorm — which happens often across Colorado.

The states argued that the rule illegally removed water and land resources from state control. The decision by Judge Ralph Erickson, granting a preliminary injunction against the rule, will stop it from taking effect until a fuller review can be conducted.

The EPA and the Army Corps argued that the new definition would protect streams and wetlands, which the agencies say form the foundation of the nation’s water resources, from pollution and degradation. The agencies also say the new definition is easier for businesses and industry to understand.

“Colorado has primary responsibility to protect and manage its own water resources, and it takes that responsibility seriously,” said Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman in reaction to Erickson’s ruling…

Two other federal judges, in West Virginia and Georgia, had declined to block the new rule.

Colorado joined litigation filed in the U.S. District Court in North Dakota. The other parties in the lawsuit are: North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming, the New Mexico Environment Department, and the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer.

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