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Commissioner Miller Applauds Decision by Federal Judge to Halt Water Rule (8/28/2015)

AUSTIN - Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller today applauded a federal court’s decision to block the expansion of the Clean Water Act by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The new Clean Water Act requirements took effect today. The injunction out of North Dakota impacts the 13 states that were part of the lawsuit filed in North Dakota in June 2015.

“More than half of the states in this country have filed lawsuits against the EPA, and the latest court ruling gives me hope that we will be able to stop the EPA from further harming our agriculture industry and economy here in Texas,” Commissioner Miller said. “Texas landowners still need to be on alert, because the EPA maintains that Texas is not impacted by the court’s decision in North Dakota. The EPA’s attempt to control our waters through the expansion of the Clean Water Act is a threat to private property rights, individual freedom and economic growth in our country. We must continue to fight to protect our landowners.”

Despite the fact that Texas is not included in this lawsuit, Commissioner Miller sees the latest ruling as an important step in halting EPA’s burdensome overregulation and attempt to expand the Clean Water Act.

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in the Southern District Court of Texas. Included in the lawsuit filed by the State of Texas are the following parties: TDA, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas General Land Office, Railroad Commission of Texas, Texas Water Development Board, State of Louisiana and State of Mississippi.

EPA’s ruling concerning new waters that would fall under jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act is overly broad and open to bureaucratic interpretation and abuse. Ultimately, the impact of this rule will mean higher production prices for agricultural producers and higher food prices at the grocery store for consumers. Additionally, the ruling will potentially have a negative environmental impact, because lands previously set aside for conservation may now be placed back into production to make up for lost revenue. 

“By expanding the definition of what constitutes the waters of the United States, the EPA is essentially burying Texas landowners in a mountain of burdensome permitting and paperwork, all of which will be micromanaged by the federal government,” Commissioner Miller said. “Our farmers and ranchers are the original environmentalists, conservationists and stewards of the land. They know how to protect the land far better than any bureaucrat in Washington.”