The Sacramento County Superior Court has rejected an attempt by the State Water Board to expand its authority to waters no longer covered under the Clean Water Act.

The board developed a new wetlands definition and discharge procedures in 2019 to counter federal rule changes that narrowed the definition of “waters of the United States.” The San Joaquin Tributaries Authority took the issue to court, which has ruled the board must stick to the federal definition.

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The court also said the state board did not have the authority to apply a water quality control plan in such a way, although regional water boards may, with state approval.