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Northeast Times | November 30, 2021

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Attorney General Asks Court to Halt Illegal Water Rule

Attorney General Asks Court to Halt Illegal Water Rule

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today asked a federal judge to halt the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreaching new water rule, jointly issued with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which vastly expands federal jurisdiction over “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act. Texas is asking the judge to lift a temporary judicial stay of the litigation and issue a preliminary injunction, arguing that the rule violates the U.S. Constitution, federal law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and places immediate and costly burdens on landowners in Texas.

“This lawsuit is about reining in the EPA’s blatant overstep of federal authority,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Their latest attempt to control private and public lands and waters puts all Texas property owners at risk, making everything from ditches to dry creek beds subject to costly federal regulation. We must protect Texans’ ability to use their own property, and my office will continue to fight the Obama Administration’s overly broad and unconstitutional water rule in court.”

The EPA’s actions are inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent in SWANCC v. Army Corps of Engineers andRapanos v. U.S., in which the Court ruled that the federal government exceeded its statutory authority by attempting to regulate areas never intended by Congress to be under federal jurisdiction. The rule is contrary to the congressional intent of the Clean Water Act and infringes on the states’ ability to regulate their own natural resources.

Attorney General Paxton filed a lawsuit against the EPA’s water rule on June 29, on behalf of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The case was stayed pending a jurisdictional decision regarding whether Texas’ case and similar cases in other federal districts should be consolidated. A federal judge in North Dakota last month issued a preliminary injunction on the EPA’s water regulations, but limited that injunction to 13 states. The final rule became effective August 28, expanding the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction over waters under the Clean Water Act.