The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday it is suing Texas and Gov. Greg Abbott after the state declined to remove the floating barrier deployed earlier this month on the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass.
The lawsuit, filed in an Austin federal court, alleges the barrier was installed without necessary authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Because Texas installed the Floating Barrier without seeking the Corps’ authorization, the Corps and other relevant federal agencies were deprived of the opportunity to evaluate risks the barrier poses to public safety and the environment, mitigate those risks as necessary through the permitting process, and otherwise evaluate whether the project is in the public interest,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also alleges that the floating barrier obstructs navigation on the river and demands that the state remove the barrier.
Last week, the Justice Department sent a letter threatening legal action against the state if it did not respond with a commitment to remove the barrier by 1 p.m. Central time on Monday. Abbott responded with a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday morning committing to keep the barrier in place.
See here for the background. The Trib story doesn’t state what the aim of the lawsuit is, but the Associated Press indicates that the feds are asking for the river wall to be dismantled. Which is what I would have expected, but I like to be sure. The question to me is simply does the state of Texas comply if they lose in court, or do they go full Alabama and say “nah” and dare the courts or whoever to make them? And if it’s the latter, what happens then? I genuinely have no idea. I’d also rather not find out, but I fear and suspect that we will. The Chron, which notes that this is the second lawsuit Abbott is facing over this, has more.