Las Vegas Sun

July 23, 2019

Currently: 93° — Complete forecast

Sandoval hails court injunction on EPA water rules

Nevada lawmakers are hailing a North Dakota district court's ruling that temporarily blocks a Environmental Protection Agency rule that would have given the federal government more control over Nevada's waterways.

"The court’s decision illustrates that the EPA’s proposed rule poses irreparable harm to the state of Nevada and warrants immediate court intervention," Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who joined 12 other states in the lawsuit, called the rule "unwise, unjustifiable and burdensome."

"This important order ... protects Nevada’s landowners, farmers and developers from job losses and increased energy prices, until the final rule can be comprehensively fought in court," Laxalt said in a statement.

In June, the EPA issued a new rule expanding the number of waterways regulated under the Clean Water Act, which restricts pollution in rivers, streams and other waterways.

Western states argued in the lawsuit that the rule is overreaching, giving the federal government oversight over waters that should remain under state control.

Laxalt criticized the rule for being so expansive that it would give the federal government control over sources as small as rain-filled ditches and seasonal streams.

The North Dakota judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing the rule from being implemented in the 13 states involved in the lawsuit: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The EPA said it plans to implement the plan in other states starting today.

The Obama administration has argued the expanded scope is needed to protect smaller waterways from pollution.

The regulations have generated fierce pushback from states and industry, leading to 10 lawsuits from 29 states and energy, farming and development interests, according to the Hill.