North Dakota judge clarifies 13-state WOTUS ruling

Judge says ruling in 13-state Waters of the U.S. case applies only to those states, not nationwide

The judge who last week granted a preliminary injunction against the Waters of the U.S. rule in a case brought by 13 states said Friday that the injunction only applies to those states, not nationwide.

The case prevented the rule, which outlines what waters are "waters of the United States" and can be regulated under the Clean Water Act, from taking effect in the 13 states – North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico.

It was effective in all other states Aug. 28.

According to an Associated Press report, judge Ralph Erickson said in the decision that "Because there are competing sovereign interests and competing judicial rulings, the court declines to extend the preliminary injunction at issue beyond the entities actually before it."

That decision is in line with the EPA's position that the rule would continue on in the states that were not listed in that particular suit.

Related: Tax dollars and the Waters of the U.S.

Other lawsuits were also considered, including one in West Virginia where the judge declined to block the rule. In another suit last week, a Georgia District Court judge declined to rule in a case with 11 states as plaintiffs, saying she lacked jurisdiction.

The rule has received criticism from farm groups concerned that it creates more ambiguity in the Clean Water Act, and that it may impede agricultural activities, requiring additional permitting and creating confusion.

Supporters say the rule creates stronger protections for U.S. water quality.

For more, read the AP report, Judge: Injunction against water rule limited to 13 states

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