RRC Files Suit Against EPA Overreach-Chairman Porter says new rule is a threat to property rights and Texas economy

06/29/2015

AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman David Porter announced today that the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has joined a multi-agency, multi-state lawsuit to combat the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unprecedented rule interpretation of navigable waters to expand its reach into Texas sovereignty.

“The EPA’s attempt to redefine its rule is tantamount to yet another massive federal overreach, and threatens property rights and drowns land owners in bureaucratic red tape on their own land,” said Chairman Porter. “This lawsuit draws a line in the sand that will push back on this outrageous effort by President Obama’s EPA to further his radical war against fossil fuels.”

Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “In spite of our state’s many successes, the EPA continues to challenge states’ regulatory expertise, ultimately limiting private property rights and economic growth. Texans can rest assured that the EPA’s attempt to unlawfully expand its authority of U.S. waters under the Clean Water Act will be met with our challenge of this unfounded, burdensome effort.”

Commissioner Ryan Sitton said, “Just this morning the Supreme Court overturned the EPA’s flawed rulemaking related to the Clean Air Act, and this lawsuit challenges EPA’s outrageous regulatory expansion predicated on the Clean Water Act. When unelected bureaucrats refuse to consider the impacts of additional regulation on land owners, job creators and businesses in states like Texas, we have to remain vigilant and fight back.  I appreciate Governor Abbott and General Paxton’s leadership on these issues and stand ready to assist them in continuing to fight unreasonable regulation.”

The rule redefines navigable waters as used in the Clean Water Act (CWA), allowing the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to regulate private land anywhere in the United States where water can conceivably flow—even dry creek beds and manmade ditches. The Texas economy is a proud beneficiary of shale drilling, and some of the water used in this process would move under the jurisdiction of the EPA with the implementation of this rule change.

Other plaintiffs in the suit include the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Department of Transportation, Texas General Land office, Texas Water Development Board, the State of Louisiana, and the State of Mississippi. 

About the Railroad Commission

Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov