Appeals court to consider challenge to federal water rules

CINCINNATI – A federal appeals court has ruled that it will hear challenges to a clean water rule implemented by President Barack Obama’s administration.

At issue is a regulation that attempts to clarify which small streams, wetlands and other waterways the government can shield from pollution and development.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said in a 2-1 decision Monday it will hear challenges to the rules by 18 states.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the regulations last year after two Supreme Court rulings left uncertain which waterways can be protected under the Clean Water Act.

States challenging the rules say they go too far and could be costly to landowners. The government says they would safeguard drinking water for 117 million Americans.