Share story

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s attorney general is applauding a ruling issued by a federal magistrate that allows the state to move forward on legal challenges to an Obama administration rule aimed at protecting small streams and wetlands from development and pollution.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem led a coalition of 12 states against the “Waters of the U.S. Rule” in 2015 in North Dakota, arguing it would unlawfully expand the federal government’s authority over states’ land and water.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January ruled that federal district courts are the forum to hear legal challenges but the government protested the case moving forward.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Senechal rejected that request on Friday.

The rule has never taken effect because of lawsuits and is now under review by the Trump administration.