A federal judge temporarily blocked a federal rule in 24 states that is intended to protect thousands of small streams, wetlands and other waterways. U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Wednesday halted the regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the 24 states.

The regulations were finalized in December 2022, repealing a rule implemented during President Donald Trump’s administration but thrown out by federal courts.

The regulations define which “waters of the United States” are protected by the Clean Water Act. Opponents have called the rules an example of federal overreach and argued they unfairly burden farmers and ranchers.

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