Judge Won’t Halt Water Rule Nationwide

A federal judge on Friday declined to halt the Obama administration’s controversial water rule nationwide, rebuffing the request of 13 states that are battling with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Judge Ralph Erickson of the North Dakota U.S. District Court ruled that there are “significant prudential reasons to limit the scope” of the injunction he already gave the 13 states last week. Other courts have denied injunctions, he said, and some states want to implement the “Waters of the United States” rule.

“On the one hand, there is a desirability for uniformity regarding a national rule with national application,” Erickson wrote. “On the other hand, there is the idea of respecting the decisions of other courts and other sovereign states.”

Erickson issued an injunction last Thursday blocking a sweeping new EPA rule in 13 states. At the time, he argued the states met the conditions necessary for an injunction, including concerns the rule would harm them and their chances of winning an underlying lawsuit against the regulations later on.

After the decision, the EPA said it would continue to implement the rule in every state except those that won the injunction. This week, those states, led by North Dakota, asked the judge to extend his injunction nationwide.