On Earth, everything is connected. The streams and wetlands feed into larger lakes and rivers, and so federal regulators want to protect the smaller bodies of water in order to keep the larger bodies, and ultimately, our water supply, clean. But in business-friendly states such as Texas, corporations are not part of planet Earth, so the rules are different. Texas, joined by fellow non-Earth dwellers Louisiana and Mississippi, is now suing the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that businesses can keep dumping crap in waterways.
For over a year, the EPA has been working on a new proposal to extend its authority under the Clean Water Act. The new water rule requires businesses to obtain a permit before dumping anything into streams or wetlands that are near rivers or seasonal waterways, even when the waterways are dry. An accompanying review of scientific literature conducted by the EPA "unequivocally demonstrates that streams, regardless of their size or frequency of flow, are connected to downstream waters and strongly influence their function."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
But many industries — especially the agriculture industry, as we've reported, do not want any limitations on dumping crap in waterways. The Texas landscape is sprinkled with many giant waste lagoons, literally big pools of water where feces and urine from factory farmed cows is funneled. Sometimes the lagoons overflow and pollute waterways, and so the beef industry has been lobbying hard against the new rule. Or, let us make a pun about it: Upon learning that there will be limits on dumping on crap in water, the Texas beef industry has been having a cow. And when an important industry has a cow, the state has a cow too.
"Obtaining a discharge permit is an expensive and uncertain endeavor that can take years of processing and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars," Texas says in its lawsuit. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argues along with six state agencies that the new water rule "is an unconstitutional and impermissible expansion of federal power over the states" and that the entire Constitution "is threatened when administrative agencies attempt to assert independent sovereignty and lawmaking authority that is superior to the states, Congress and the courts." This is the 20th time Texas has sued the EPA. You can read the complaint below: