Texas and 17 other states have gone to federal court in Alabama against the federal government’s new rules regarding the Endangered Species Act. Oklahoma is not one of the 17 other states but Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado and Louisiana are.
The lawsuit challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service over the new rules announced in February that expanded the definition of critical habitats for wildlife listed as endangered or threatened.
The suit is seen as possibly the last lawsuit against the Obama administration to be filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. His suit contends the rules will allow the federal government to “designate areas as occupied critical habitat, containing the physical and biological features essential to conservation, even when those areas are neither occupied nor contain those features.”
“This is nothing more than yet another end run around Congress by a president who is desperate to establish his environmental legacy by any means necessary before his time in office ends in less than 60 days,” charged Paxton. “The Obama administration is hiding behind bogus rules to perpetrate land grabs, kill energy projects and block economic development.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama against the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The state of Alabama is taking the lead in the lawsuit. Joining Alabama and Texas are the attorneys general from Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. New Mexico is represented by its Department of Game and Fish.