Attorney General Ken Paxton issued the following statement after his office asked a U.S. District Court in Galveston for a nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule while the Environmental Protection Agency works to rescind it:
“Legal action is well underway by the Trump administration to rescind and replace the rule while the EPA works to establish certainty across Texas and all states about what waters are subject to federal regulation,” Attorney General Paxton said. “There is no reason for the court to do anything other than enjoin the doomed WOTUS rule.”
In 2015, Attorney General Paxton led a multi-state coalition lawsuit that won a nationwide stay against WOTUS in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which would have put the ponds, streams and puddles of Texas property owners under the federal government’s control. The Obama administration issued the rule, purportedly under the authority of the 1972 Clean Water Act.
One of President Trump’s first actions in office was an executive order directing the EPA to begin the process of rescinding and replacing WOTUS. At the time, he characterized the rule as “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.” Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cases litigating the Clean Water Act should be heard by federal district courts. The district court took the matter under advisement after the hearing.