Nevada joins lawsuit challenging federal water rules |

Nevada joins lawsuit challenging federal water rules

Staff Reports
The East Fork of the Carson River is considered a navigable river. Under new rules published by the EPA, all tributaries and waters in the 100-year flood plain will also be subject to federal regulation.
Kurt Hildebrand |

Nevada is joining in a lawsuit challenging a federal rule the state said would expand federal powers over state and local water beyond those designated navigable.

Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced he was filing suit on behalf of the state along with a coalition of a dozen other states.

Laxalt said the rule increases the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over land and water resources.

The rule was promulgated under the Water Pollution Control Act, which grants agencies the authority to control discharges of pollutants into “waters of the United States.”

Under the Clean Water Act, anyone seeking to discharge material into “waters of the United States” must obtain a permit from either the state or EPA.

The final rule that expands the definition of the “Waters of the United States” was published in the Federal Register on Monday, after the Corps of Engineers found that the rule had no significant impact.

Under the final rule, primary waters are defined as “all waters which are currently used, used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce.”

The rule defines that not only are interstate waters, included in the rule, but all tributaries are also included, as well as waters in the 100-year floodplain that are near an interstate water.

Gov. Brian Sandoval authorized Laxalt to file the lawsuit on behalf of Nevada.

Other states in the lawsuit include North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, in addition to the New Mexico Environment Department and state engineer.