Ken Paxton

Monday, June 30, 2014

State of Texas Win in Whooping Crane Case Protects Farmers, Ranchers and Communities Along South Texas Rivers

AUSTIN--The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today ruled in favor of the State of Texas in the whooping crane case. Attorney General Abbott issued the following statement on today's ruling:

“This is a significant win for the State of Texas, but especially the farmers, ranchers, and communities along these Texas rivers who would have been irreparably harmed had the lower court's ruling not been reversed. Today's decision rightfully rejected an attempt to force Texas into a costly federal permitting regime, and affirmed that it is the State's right and responsibility to manage its own natural resources.”

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision

The Fifth Circuit's order reversed the district court's ruling and held that there is no immediate connection between the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's action of issuing surface water permits and the impact on whooping cranes that live part-time along the Texas Gulf Coast. Therefore, the State of Texas cannot be held liable under the federal Endangered Species Act for the impact on whooping cranes. Further, the court ruled that the upstream permit holders also cannot be held liable for upstream actions that may - or may not have – negatively impacted whooping cranes.