Tag: Slaps Down

Federal Judge Slaps Down Obama’s Latest EPA Regulatory Scheme

Obama’s Environmental Agenda Suffers A Big Setback In Court – Daily Caller

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A federal judge in North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction late on Thursday that will prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from moving forward on an ambitious plan to expand the federal government’s power to regulate water pollution.

Judge Ralph Erickson concluded that the 13 states which collaborated to challenge the new Waters of the United States rule were likely to be harmed if the rule was allowed to be implemented, and he also concluded that the rule is unlikely to survive a final court judgment.

The ruling is a tough blow to the Obama administration, which has pushed hard for the new rule. For the time being, the injunction only applies to the 13 states in the lawsuit, while the rule will go into place for the rest of the country starting Friday.

The Waters of the United States rule, proposed in April 2014, the Obama administration’s effort to enforce its vision of the Clean Water Act. The rule would alter the definition of what constitutes the “waters of the United States” under the act, thereby increasing the amount of water subject to federal regulation. Critics, comprising Republicans along with many agricultural and business interests, argue that the new rule is a power grab by the federal government, which would give them unprecedented control over bodies of water located entirely within individual states. Some have argued that even flooded ditches could fall under federal oversight through the new rule.

The 13 states winning in Thursday’s ruling aren’t the only ones challenging the rule. Several other lawsuits have sought injunctions in federal courts, but those injunction requests have not succeeded thus far.

In his ruling, Erickson characterizes the rule as “exceptionally expansive” in how it defines the waters of the United States. If implemented, Erickson writes, it would “irreparably diminish” states’ sovereignty over their own waterways. He also found that states would incur major financial distress from the new rule, noting that North Dakota would now have to spend millions on costly mapping and survey projects before it could approve new oil wells in the state.

“The breadth of the definition of a tributary set forth in the Rule allows for regulation of any area that has a trace amount of water so long as ‘the physical indicators of a bed and banks and an ordinary high water mark’ exist,” Erickson writes. Erickson added that many parts of the rule were made without any clear scientific basis, and thus the rule appears to be “arbitrary and capricious” in nature.

“I am thrilled that Chief Judge Erickson agrees EPA’s WOTUS rule should be enjoined,” said Pam Bondi, chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “EPA overstepped its authority, again. The EPA should not be permitted to intrude unlawfully on state authority and burden farmers, businesses and landowners.”

The League of Conservation Voters, on the other hand, quickly slammed the new injunction.

“This is a terrible decision for the 1 in 3 Americans who have already been waiting too long for these vital protections for their drinking water,”said League legislative representative Madeleine Foote in a statement. “The District Court for North Dakota’s decision puts the interests of big polluters over people in need of clean water. Blocking the implementation of the Clean Water Rule leaves in place an unworkable status quo that jeopardizes the clean water our families, economy, and communities depend on.”

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Federal Judge Slaps Down Obama Regime’s Request To Let Executive Amnesty Move Forward

Federal Court Slaps Down Request To Let Obama’s Amnesty Move Forward – Daily Caller

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A federal judge denied Tuesday night the Obama administration’s request to allow President Obama’s executive actions on amnesty to move forward.

The Southern District Court of Texas is hearing a lawsuit from 26 states against the Department of Homeland Security over the executive actions President Obama announced in November he would be taking to extend legal status and work permits to 5 million illegal immigrants. Judge Andrew Hanen stayed Obama’s immigration plans in February – and soon after discovered that the Justice Department had misled the court about the details of the plan.

Tuesday night, Hanen denied the Justice Department’s March request to stay his injunction against the plan, meaning the latest amnesty will not move forward for now.

That’s not all. Hanen’s ruling ordered the DOJ to produce all documents and metadata regarding what the department knew about the amnesty plan, and when, in response to the department’s flub with the court.

Part of President Obama’s current amnesty plan, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), would provide amnesty for about 4 million illegal immigrants who are parents. Another section would upgrade Obama’s 2012 immigration program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), by extending the period illegal immigrants would be exempt from deportation from two to three years.

While DOJ reported to the court that the DACA upgrade would not go into effect until Feb. 18 – two days after Hanen issued a temporary injunction against it – the administration belatedly admitted in March that it had already issued the extended amnesty to 100,000 illegal immigrants.

“Due to the seriousness of the matters discussed therein, the Court will not rule on any other pending motions until it is clear that these matters, if true, do not impact the pending matters or any rulings previously made by this Court,” Hanen wrote of DOJ’s admission that it had moved forward with the program anyway.

DOJ nevertheless filed a motion days later asking the court to lift its injunction, because the freeze purportedly interferes with DHS’ “effort to effectively allocate limited enforcement resources.”

The court ruled that the administration’s actions “were indeed misleading.” Hanen denied the plaintiffs’ request to strike the government’s pleadings entirely, but left the door open to future repercussions, saying the court “may impose some other sanction in response to the misrepresentations made to the Court.”

Now the administration has until Apr. 21 to comply with the court order for information.

“At a minimum, however, Defendants have created special circumstances that necessitate further investigation,” Hanen wrote in the order. The ruling requires that DOJ hand over the documentation of all drafts and metadata regarding editing of the March advisory which misled the court on DAPA’s content – and specified that the agency cannot “destroy” or “erase” any data, just in case.

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