In a case with wide-ranging consequences for the State of Texas, Attorney General Paxton successfully stopped the Biden Administration’s judge-shopping efforts and secured the stay of an Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) action that would have imperiled the State’s ability to properly manage its environment. 

Attorney General Paxton previously sued after the EPA improperly disapproved Texas’s state implementation plan (“SIP”), which was developed in coordination with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”). Texas’s SIP was designed in compliance with the “Good Neighbor” requirements under the Clean Air Act, which requires states to ensure that significant amounts of emissions do not affect downwind states. If it had not been stayed, the EPA’s disapproval would have allowed the Biden Administration to force onto Texas an overly burdensome federal implementation plan (“FIP”). After Paxton sued, the EPA also moved to transfer the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The court has now rejected the Biden Administration’s judge-shopping motion. 

“It’s vital that the decisions about stewarding our natural environment and our natural resources are made here in Texas, not in Washington, D.C. by radical federal bureaucrats who seek to saddle our State with unnecessary new regulations,” said Attorney General Paxton. “This case will continue, but the court made the right decision initially to ensure that the EPA doesn’t force upon Texans a new, unlawful plan filled with onerous regulations. The court order also flatly rejected the Biden Administration’s judge-shopping efforts, marking this decision as an important victory for the people of Texas and the integrity of our legal system.”  

In its order, the Fifth Circuit stated that Paxton “made a strong showing that the EPA ‘acted arbitrarily, capriciously, [and] unlawfully’” when it disapproved Texas’s SIP. The EPA’s actions, it added, threatened to transform the agency into a “freewheeling dictatorial regulator” in defiance of the “‘system of cooperative federalism enshrined in the Clean Air Act.’”   

To read the full court order, click here.