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Politics & Government

Stenehjem: WOTUS is the "most objectionable rule" he's seen from the federal government

A massive overreach.

That’s how Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem describes the new EPA and Corps of Engineers “Waters of the United States” rule, scheduled to take effect later this month. Stenehjem is asking a federal judge in Fargo to issue a temporary injunction – to prevent the law from taking effect while the judge considers North Dakota’s lawsuit against it.

"This appears to be the most controversial and objectionable rule that I have seen come down the pike in a long time," Stenehjem told the Legislature's interim Water Topics Committee. He told the Committee the new regulations go far beyond navigable waters – and regulates tributaries, lakes and wetlands adjacent to those navigable waters.

"For example, if you live near Amidon, near the North Cedar Creek, which flows into Cedar Creek, which flows into the Cannonball River, which flows into the Missouri River -- that entire flow path will now be regulated."

Stenehjem says the new regulations means increased permitting requirements, where permits have not been previously required.

"And of course, due to the high volume and number of permits, one could expect the time to obtain those permits will increase substantially," said Stenehjem. "I think our citizens cannot afford these costly delays."