FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS WOTUS RULE IN 13 STATES

Lindsay Mitchell

Aug, 28, 2015  |  Today's News

In a decision that is a major roadblock for the EPA, a North Dakota federal judge ruled late on Thursday that the 13 states suing to block the rule met the conditions for a preliminary injunction.

Illinois was not one of the 13 states suing the EPA.  The states have indicated that they would likely be harmed if courts didn’t act.

In the order, Judge Ralph Erickson of the District Court for the District of North Dakota said, ““Once the rule takes effect, the states will lose their sovereignty over intrastate waters that will then be subject to the scope of the Clean Water Act,” Erickson wrote in his order.

“While the exact amount of land that would be subject to the increase is hotly disputed, the agencies admit to an increase in control over those traditional state-regulated waters of between 2.84 to 4.65 percent. Immediately upon the rule taking effect, the rule will irreparably diminish the states’ power over their waters,” he continued, calling the Obama administration's interpretation of its jurisdiction "exceptionally expansive."

In a statement shortly after the ruling, the EPA was defiant and said that the injunction only applies in the thirteen states that filed for it: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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