Ranchers in New Mexico, California, Washington sue over Obama administration's new water rule

Associated Press

Ranchers in New Mexico, California and Washington state are challenging a new Obama administration rule giving federal agencies authority to protect some streams and wetlands.

The Sacramento, California-based Pacific Legal Foundation announced this week it has filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minnesota on behalf of the ranchers over a recent expansion of the Clean Water Act.

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The rule is a response to calls from the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress for the Environmental Protection Agency to clarify which smaller waterways are protected under the law.

But the foundation argues the rule is unconstitutional because it sets no limit on the Clean Water Act's reach.

EPA spokeswoman Monica Lee declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In June, 13 states led by North Dakota filed a lawsuit over the same rule change.