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Nevada, other states win injunction on EPA water rule

CARSON CITY — Nevada has prevailed along with a dozen other states in stopping a new EPA rule that would have greatly expanded the scope of waters covered by the Clean Water Act.

A federal judge in North Dakota on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction to keep the federal “Waters of the United States” rule from taking effect on Friday.

The opinion by Chief District Judge Ralph Erickson of the District of North Dakota said the states are likely to succeed on their claim because it appears likely that the EPA has violated its congressional grant of authority.

“The Rule allows EPA regulation of waters that do not bear any effect on the ‘chemical, physical, and biological integrity’ of any navigable-in-fact water,” Erickson said.

“The States here have demonstrated that they will face irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction,” he 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.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval authorized Attorney General Adam Laxalt in June to file a lawsuit challenging the rule.

“Today’s preliminary injunction, as requested by Nevada and other states, reasserts the principle that the EPA cannot issue lawless mandates,” Laxalt said in a statement.

“This important order, at a minimum, delays implementation of an unwise, unjustifiable, and burdensome rule and protects Nevada’s landowners, farmers, and developers from job losses and increased energy prices, until the final rule can be comprehensively fought in court. I will continue to defend our jobs and families from overreach by the federal government.”

Sandoval said he authorized the lawsuit when it became clear that the EPA ignored the comments and concerns of Nevada officials in its final rule.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801

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