16 Attorneys General Argue New EPA Water Rule Is All Wet

There is no rest for the wicked, or at risk of being repetitive, an EPA attorney.

Fresh off a spanking from the Supreme Court for not taking the costs of imposing new, expensive pollution mandates on coal-burning power plants, the EPA’s legal team is being called to defend a change to the Clean Water Act.

The EPA swears it isn’t true, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) claims the way Environmental Protection Agency bureaucrats define “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act, known more officially as the “Waters of the United States” rule, means everything from ditches and dry creek beds to gullies and isolated ponds formed after a big rain could be considered a “water of the United States.”

And any puddle declared to be a “water of the United States” under the new rule published June 29 could be regulated under the Clean Water Act.

The new rule would expand the EPA’s authority to cover an additional two million acres of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that are not included, or at least clearly included, under the Clean Water Act.

Texas and 15 other states filed suit to block the new “navigable waters” rule as soon as it was published.

The EPA legal eagles have not one lawsuit to worry about, but two. Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi have filed suit in Houston. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming have filed suit in a separate case to have the rule overturned.

“The EPA’s new water rule is not about clean water — it’s about power,” Paxton said. “This sweeping new rule is a blatant overstep of federal authority and could have a devastating effect on virtually any property owner, from farmers to ranchers to small businesses.”

Paxton said the rule violates the U.S. Constitution, federal law and U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and places costly burdens on landowners in Texas.

“If it moves forward, essentially anybody with a ditch on their property would be at risk of costly and unprecedented new regulations and a complicated web of bureaucracy. Texans shouldn’t need permission from the federal government to use their own land, and the EPA’s attempt to erode private property rights must be put to a stop,” Paxton said.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Paxton and the other state attorneys general who sued are quite simply wrong.