EPA, Army Corps enforce Clean Water Rule after judge limits injunction
The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are proceeding with the implementation of the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States rule, after a federal judge in North Dakota last week declined to expand the preliminary injunction he issued to cover 13 states that had requested relief from the implementation.
On Friday, Judge Ralph Erickson of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota denied a petition from the 13 states that his August 27 injunction to stop enforcement be expanded nationwide.
Erickson noted that four courts have declined to issue injunctions — two of them found they lacked jurisdiction and the other two deferred a decision until the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation decides on consolidation of the district court cases.
Erickson also noted that seven states and the District of Columbia have moved to intervene on behalf of the agencies in the consolidated matter before the Sixth Circuit.
An EPA spokeswoman said in an email, “The District Court for North Dakota confirmed that the scope of its preliminarily injunction of the Clean Water Rule is limited to the 13 states that were parties to the litigation before the court.”
“EPA and the Department of the Army will comply with the court’s order, and the agencies’ prior regulations will be in effect in those 13 states.
“The Clean Water Rule was developed by the agencies to respond to an urgent need to improve and simplify the process for identifying waters that are and are not protected under the Clean Water Act and is based on the latest science and the law,” the EPA spokeswoman said.
“The Clean Water Rule represents the agencies’ continuing commitment to protecting and restoring the nation’s water resources that are vital for our health, environment, and economy.”
–The Hagstrom Report