Texas AG urges EPA to extend effective date of new water rule

By David Yates | Jul 30, 2015


On July 30 Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a collation of states urging the Environmental Protection Agency to push back the start date of its new rule governing all U.S. waters.

Paxton, along with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and representatives from 29 other states, sent a letter to officials at the EPA asking the agency to extend the effective date of the planned Waters of the U.S. rule, which goes into effect Aug. 28.

Once implemented, U.S. rivers, streams and even creeks will come under the oversight of the EPA.

Paxton and the others argue the rule will force sweeping changes to environmental policy, and cause unnecessary hardship to farmers, private property owners and businesses having a detrimental effect on local and state economies.

“This unlawful rule seeks to vastly expand the definition of waters under federal control, putting virtually any property owner at risk of facing costly new regulations,” said Paxton in a statement. “The EPA’s overreach stifles growth, kills jobs and hinders the creation of new ones, and I’m committed to fighting this unprecedented expansion of regulatory power.”

A federal lawsuit challenging the water rule was filed June 29 by the state.

Paxton, joined by the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, argues that by revising the regulatory definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, the EPA greatly expands federal jurisdiction over waters and threatens the ability of states and private property owners to use their own land.

He further contends the rule violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, in addition to placing costly burdens on landowners in Texas.

The letter, sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo Ellen Darcy, requests that the EPA immediately act to extend the effective date of the WOTUS rule by at least nine months, according to a Paxton press release.

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