In summary

California has joined a group of states suing two federal agencies for suspending a 2015 rule that entitled more bodies of water to protection.

California has joined a group of states suing two federal agencies for suspending a 2015 rule that extended the definition of streams and wetlands entitled to protection under the Clean Water Act.

The “waters of the United States” rule was adopted in 2015 to better define which bodies of water are covered under federal law, both for protection against development and depletions and as a bulwark against pollution.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that he sued the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, bringing the number of suits filed by California against the Trump Administration to more than two dozen.

“The California Department of Justice will not spectate as this administration attempts to undo yet another critical environmental protection,” Becerra said in a statement. “We will do what is necessary to defend the Clean Water Rule and our right to clean water. The Rule was legally promulgated, based on science, and will help protect our precious water resources.”

The Obama-era regulation was intended to apply rigorous science to more clearly spell out which waterways were protected and to put an end to a free-for-all in which states applied differing interpretations. The new definitions included floodplains and streams that do not flow year-round.

Those rules were strenuously opposed by developers, who said they swept up much of the undeveloped land in California.

In addition to the lawsuit brought by attorneys general from 11 states, the suspension of the 2015 regulation has been challenged by a host of environmental organizations.

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Julie Cart joined CalMatters as a projects and environment reporter in 2016 after a long career at the Los Angeles Times, where she held many positions: sportswriter, national correspondent and environment...