Texas AG applauds stay of ‘illegal’ water rule

By David Yates | Oct 9, 2015

On Oct. 9 a federal court halted the Obama Administration’s new waters of the U.S. rule, stopping the Environmental Protection Agency, at least for the moment, from gaining jurisdiction over all “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act.

As previously reported, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the EPA’s water rule on June 29, on behalf of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi in federal district court and in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We are pleased that the Sixth Circuit agreed with Texas and the other states that EPA’s new water rule should be stayed,” Paxton said in a written statement.

“The court’s ruling is good news for property owners whose land would have been subject to extensive new federal regulations due to this overreaching new water rule. In effect, the WOTUS rules are simply a blatant power grab by the EPA, and Texas will continue to fight against this ill-conceived and overly broad rule in court.”

Court records show the district court case was stayed pending a jurisdictional decision regarding whether Texas’ case and similar cases in other federal districts should be consolidated.

The Fifth Circuit case was consolidated in the Sixth Circuit and Texas filed a brief in the Sixth Circuit requesting the stay of the water rule.

The final rule became effective August 28, expanding the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction over waters under the Clean Water Act.

According to a press release, Paxton believes the EPA’s actions are inconsistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent in SWANCC v. Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos 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.

He further says 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.

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