Joined by Louisiana and Mississippi, Attorney General Ken Paxton late yesterday filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, asking a judge to expedite their request for a nationwide injunction to prevent enforcement of the unlawful Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which unlawfully expanded the reach of the federal Clean Water Act.
Last week, a district court in South Carolina overturned President Trump’s effort to delay the effectiveness of the WOTUS rule while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues its efforts to prepare a replacement rule. While district courts in North Dakota and Georgia acted to enjoin WOTUS in 24 states, the rule remains in effect in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and other states not covered by the two injunctions.
“The WOTUS rule infringes on the states’ ability to regulate their own natural resources, including ponds, puddles and streams on private property, and poses a substantial burden to property owners whose land would be subject to new EPA regulations,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We’re asking the district court to take immediate action to prevent enforcement of the unlawful rule.”
In 2015, Attorney General Paxton was part of a multi-state coalition lawsuit that won a nationwide stay against WOTUS in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, preventing the federal government from taking control of ponds, streams and puddles of Texas property owners.
One of President Trump’s first actions in office was an executive order directing the EPA to begin the process of eliminating WOTUS. At the time, he characterized the rule as “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.” Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cases litigating the Clean Water Act should be heard by federal district courts.