- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A federal judicial panel says lawsuits challenging a new Obama administration rule aimed at regulating some small waterways should proceed independently.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers had asked that the lawsuits against the new rules be consolidated in a single district court. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation denied the request Tuesday.

The seven-judge panel says there are several lawsuits pending in seven district courts across the country. The panel’s order says “centralization will not serve the convenience of the parties.”

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

Last week, a federal appeals court put the regulations on hold nationwide.

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