Whooping Crane Litigation

Latest Developments

The Aransas Project (TAP) v. Shaw lawsuit is set to go to trial on Friday, Dec. 2, 2011 in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi. The deadline for dispositive motions, such as a motion for summary judgment, was Sept. 15, 2011 and the deadline for challenges to expert testimony was Sept. 30, 2011. Parties reported the results of a mediation conference Oct. 12, 2011 and discovery ended Oct. 31, 2011. To read an update about the trial and what experts say about the alleged claims in the lawsuit, click here.

Background

A lawsuit filed in March 2010 alleging that state management of the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers has harmed the whooping cranes that winter at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge has been "stayed" by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The suit by an organization called The Aransas Project (TAP) against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) accused the agency of violating the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) by not allowing enough fresh water to reach the coastal marshes and ultimately causing a "take" of whooping cranes.

The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) immediately filed to intervene as defendants in the lawsuit, and on April 23, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack issued an order granting GBRA's motion to intervene. Forty-eight other entities filed amicus briefs with the court supporting the defendants.

In addition to GBRA, Union Carbide, the San Antonio Water System (SAWS), the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), the Texas Chemical Council, the Texas Farm Bureau / American Farm Bureau Federation, and CPS Energy also filed at different times for defendant intervener status. Judge Jack granted the motion to intervene by the Texas Chemical Council, but denied the motions of the other entities.

The entities that were denied motions to intervene appealed the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court and requested the court to stay the original case until a ruling had been made on the appeal to intervene. On Aug. 12, 2010, the Fifth Circuit Court granted the stay on the case in the U.S. District Court.

Whooping Crane Litigation Documents

Motions

Amicus Curiae Briefs

San Antonio Guadalupe Estuarine System (SAGES) Study

The links below include the final report of the San Antonio Guadalupe Estuarine System (SAGES) study completed in April 2009, as well as public comments that were submitted and the researchers responses to those comments.

River Run

Spring 2010
ESA Lawsuit Opens Door for Federal Control of Texas Water

Fall 2011
Experts Refute Alleged Whooping Crane Deaths

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