Judge halts federal water rule

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A judge in North Dakota has granted a request from Nevada and other states to block an expansion of federal power over state and local water.

Federal District Court Judge Ralph Erickson ordered a preliminary injunction on Thursday that temporarily delays a new federal rule redefining “waters of the United States.” The Environmental Protection Agency said the redefinition is aimed at safeguarding drinking water.

Nevada joined 12 other states in a challenge, asserting that Congress only intended federal authorities to have power over navigable waters. They fear the redefinition could give federal officials control of small ponds, streams and irrigation ditches.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt called the measure federal overreach and said it would burden landowners, farmers and developers.

The injunction delays implementation while a court battle plays out.

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