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Court Orders Texas To Remove Floating Barrier

Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Texas to remove the floating barrier it deployed in the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass this summer, affirming a lower court’s ruling. In a 2-1 decision, the court found that the river was navigable where the Governor had the barrier placed and that it was “an obstruction.” It means that Texas needed permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which regulates activities in waterways and wetlands under federal law — before deploying it. Judge Don Willett, a Trump appointee, was the dissenting vote in the ruling, arguing that the Rio Grande cannot accommodate commercial boat traffic and is therefore not navigable.