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SCOTUS reinstates rule limiting state and Native American input on water pollution

waterway pollution
Lynn Betts
/
USDA NRCS Photo
Runoff from a heavy rain carries farm chemicals as well as topsoil from a crop field in central Iowa.

The U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated, for now, a Trump-era rule that curtails the power of states and Native American tribes to block pipelines and other energy projects that can pollute rivers, streams and other waterways.

In a 5-4 decision on Wednesday, the justices agreed to halt a lower court judge’s order throwing out the rule and sending it back to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The high court’s action does not interfere with the Biden administration’s decision to rewrite the rule.

Work on a revision has begun, but the administration has said a final rule isn’t expected until spring 2023.

The Trump-era rule will remain in effect in the meantime.

The court’s three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.