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Texas Claims Victory As A Judge Blocks EPA Clean Water Rules

September 13, 2018 - 4:18 pm

By Chris Fox

A Federal judge has at least temporarily blocked an Obama-era EPA rule protecting creeks and other tributaries that feed larger lakes and rivers. US District Judge George Hanks of Galveston granted a temporary injunction blocking the rule from taking effect until after a full trial.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading the 3-state suit against the Waters of the US (WOTUS) provision. Paxton spokesman Marc Rylander says property owners in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are the real winners. The injunction spares “them from the unlawful and impractical WOTUS rule that would allow EPA regulation of ponds, streams and puddles on private land. By restoring principles of federalism to this area of law, the ruling is an even bigger win for the Constitution and the fundamental liberties it protects.”

Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger says the real winners in this case are the corporate polluters. “They’ve been employing a disinformation campaign for years now trying to confuse the public and say big brother and the government are trying to come in and regulate your bird bath and that’s just not the case.”

In 2015 President Obama said the rule was to ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters would be held accountable. Metzger says the Waters of the US provision is nothing threatening or new. “This is just returning the Clean Water Act to the way it was enforced for decades …this is nothing to fear…this is a good rule to make sure our water is clean.”

Rylander says the lawsuit was a response to action taken by President Trump. “The legal action was necessary after a district court in South Carolina overturned President Trump’s effort to delay the WOTUS rule so that the US Environmental Protection Agency could prepare a replacement rule.”

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.