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ND, other states sue EPA over 'Waters of the US' rule

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

North Dakota and 12 other states have gone to federal court to stop the EPA and the Corps of Engineers from enforcing the new “Waters of the United States” rule.

The suit was filed in federal court in Bismarck.

The plaintiffs say the new rule is federal overreach.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the EPA’s new rule is unconstitutional. He says it goes far beyond the intent of the Clean Water act.

“This federal power grab is unnecessary, unlawful and will do nothing to increase water quality in our state,” Stenehjem said at a Capitol news conference.

The final rule is even broader and more restrictive than the proposed rule," said North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. "That’s surprising and alarming in itself. It creates more risk and uncertainty for agriculture producers.” 

“The rule is wrong," said North Dakota Grain Growers Association executive director Dan Wogsland. "It’s landowner-wrong, it’s wrong for the people of the state of North Dakota, and it’s wrong for North Dakota agriculture.”       

Stenehjem says all it will do is increase the workload of farmers and ranchers, who will have to have EPA permits that were not needed before.

The states want an injunction against the EPA and the Corps of Engineers, to prevent them from enforcing the new rule.