AG Paxton seeks to halt ‘federal overreach’ into coal industry

By David Yates | Jan 18, 2017

AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton, joined by 12 other states, has filed a petition for review and injunction of a final rule titled the “Stream Protection Rule” promulgated by the Obama administration’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

The federal agency adopted the revised rule without the participation of the states and requires the implementation of regulations governing a stream buffer zone, re-vegetation, restoration, fish and wildlife protections, and water quality standards, according to a press release.


The suit was filed Jan. 17 in the U.S. Court for the District of Columbia and also names the U.S. Department of the Interior as a defendant.

Paxton argues that by imposing a mandatory, one-size-fits-all rule regarding coal mining, the rule goes against states’ sovereign rights allowed by the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act enacted by Congress in 1977.

The act recognizes the individual needs states have when ensuring the public and environment are protected from adverse effects of surface coal mining operations.

“Yet again, we must fight federal overreach,” said Paxton.

“This rule tramples states’ retention of sovereign authority under the Tenth Amendment and seeks to destroy an entire industry, displacing hardworking men and women and setting a precedent to disregard states’ own understanding of major industries within their borders. Texas will not stand by and allow the federal government to overstep state authority, guaranteed by the Constitution, in such a detrimental fashion.”

Texas is joined in the petition by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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