Court Places Hold On Clean Water Rule Nationwide

The stay is the latest in a series of legal setbacks for the Obama administration's environmental regulations.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. court on Friday issued an order temporarily blocking the implementation of a federal water rule across the country, expanding on a prior injunction from a separate court that applied only to certain states.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit granted a nationwide stay against the so-called Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May.

The appellate court said that the 18 states challenging the new standards were unlikely to face immediate irreparable harm from the rule, but there was also no evidence that the nation's waters would suffer "imminent injury" if the regulation was put on hold.

"A stay allows for a more deliberate determination whether this exercise of executive power ... is proper under the dictates of federal law," the court said in its majority opinion.

The stay was the latest in a series of legal setbacks for Obama administration environmental regulations.

In August, the U.S. District Court in North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction against the federal water rule in another case. That order applied to North Dakota and the 12 other states involved in the lawsuit.

Late last month, a federal judge in Wyoming placed an injunction on Obama administration regulations for hydraulic fracturing on public lands.

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Susan Heavey and Christian Plumb)

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