Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that the federal government agreed to reconsider Obama-era rules that restrict property owners’ use of land, settling a lawsuit filed by Texas and 19 other states in November 2016. The Alabama-led lawsuit challenged federal rules that broadly expand the definition of critical habitats for endangered and threatened species.

“This was nothing more than a desperate attempt at a parting gift from President Obama to radical environmentalists at the end of his presidency,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The Obama administration bypassed Congress to implement rules designed to perpetrate land grabs, kill energy projects and block economic development. I’m pleased the Trump administration will reconsider the rules and I am confident they will ultimately be rescinded.” 

In its legal challenge, Texas and the multi-state coalition argued that the stringent rules gave the government carte blanche to designate areas of land as occupied critical habitat, even if the areas were unoccupied or unfit for survival of an endangered species.

The settlement of the case, Alabama v. National Marine Fisheries Service, requires the federal government to submit revised rules for public review within 60 days and preserves the ability of Texas and the other states to file another lawsuit should the new rules perpetuate federal overreach.

States joining Texas and Alabama in the settlement are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

View the November 2016 multi-state lawsuit here (PDF).