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AG Ferguson asks court to block EPA’s attempt to suspend Clean Water Rule

Feb 06, 2018

Attorney General Bob Ferguson today filed a lawsuit to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to suspend the Waters of the rule while the Trump Administration attempts to repeal it.

Today’s lawsuit represents Ferguson’s 21st legal challenge against the Trump Administration since January of 2017.

Fergusen says the rule provides much-needed clarity about which waters qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act. He said before the rule, a patchwork of state and federal rules regulated runoff from some upstream bodies. This made pollution difficult to control.

The suit, filed with 9 other states and the District of Columbia, accuses the EPA of violating the Administrative Procedure Act and the Clean Water Act by suspending the rule after its effective date had already passed, and failing to provide a meaningful opportunity for public input on its decision.

Fergusen said, “I won’t allow the Trump Administration to continue to ignore the law to try to undermine important environmental rules simply because it doesn’t like them.”

In July of 2017, the EPA, under Director Scott Pruitt, published a proposed rule to repeal the “waters of the United States” definition, reverting to the pre-existing 1980s-era regulations.

The EPA proposed separately to suspend the “waters of the United States” rule for two years while it considers the repeal, but only allowed a short window for public comments on the proposed suspension.

Today, the EPA issued a final rule suspending the “waters of the United States” rule. Consequently, Ferguson and other state Attorneys General are filing a legal challenge alleging a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Ferguson is asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to declare the EPA’s suspension unlawful and set it aside.

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