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Environment Texas
The Texas Tribune
Jim Malewitz, Kiah Collier

After a setback in court Thursday, can the federal government enforce its controversial "Waters of the U.S." rule in Texas?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says yes. Texas says no.

The agency on Friday said the regulation, aimed at better defining the scope of bodies of water protected under the federal Clean Water Act, took effect in Texas and several other states, rankling Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

The confusion started Thursday. Hours before the regulation was set to take effect, U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota granted a request from 13 states — not including Texas — to block the rule, which would allow the federal government to regulate small streams and wetlands...

"This case is an unfortunate example of a single federal court judge in North Dakota siding with big polluters over the 1 in 3 Americans that stand to benefit from the new clean water rule," said Sara Smith, an attorney with the group Environment Texas. "Fortunately, the rule remains intact here in Texas, and district court judges in West Virginia and Georgia have declined to block the rule against challenges in their states."