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Gravois Creek

A photo of Gravois Creek in Clydesdale County Park on Sept. 11, 2012. Rules proposed by the Department of Natural Resources would more than quadruple the miles of Missouri streams, rivers and creeks procted by specific pollution limits. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

FRANKFORT, Ky. • They beat the EPA on coal, and now a group of state attorneys general hopes to score a similar victory on farming.

Attorneys general from 13 states, including Missouri, have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over a new rule they say gives the federal government much more power to regulate farms and streams. The lawsuit comes one day after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked an EPA rule for coal-fired power plants.

A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency did not comment on the lawsuit directly but said the rule was designed to protect people from unsafe drinking water.

The new rule, which defines "waters of the United States," would expand the scope of clean water regulation, increasing the federal government’s authority to control land use. It's deeply unpopular with some farm groups.

In a statement Monday, Koster asserted that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have exceeded their legal authority.

“If this change becomes law, thousands of acres of privately owned land in Missouri will suddenly be subject to federal water regulation," Koster said. "Missouri farmers will be particularly harmed by the federal government’s restrictions on how their land can be used.”

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