Happy 2017 Ya'll!
Check out the New Year's Day Splash Photos HERE.
Read the 2016 SOS Alliance and Hill Country Conservation Highlights here. pdf Extended 2016 SOS & Hill Country Highlights (567 KB)
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who sponsored, donated, volunteered, attended, performed, danced or otherwise participated in the SOS Holiday Party last Friday! The house was packed, the 1200 tamales delicious, and the down home Austin sounds of the Bouldin Creek Bobkats and Bill Oliver's Otter Space Band kept kept the dance floor full of Barton Springs hippies, youngsters, and everyone in between. Thanks to all of the local Austin businesses, artists, artisans and others who donated goods and services for the silent auction. See our amazing sponsors and auction donors below. Please remember to shop locally owned for the holidays! Special thanks to Whole Earth Provision Co. for donating $10 gift cards to every party goer and to ABGB for the locally brewed beer!
While TxDOT is clearing the right of way for the SH 45 SW toll road, our lawsuit to stop the construction of 45SW and the Mopac South expansion without a comprehensive environmental study under the National Environmental Policy Act is moving toward trial early in 2017. Today the Statesman reports on the ongoing battle, highlighting our pending "notice of intent to sue" for unauthorized harm to endangered salamanders and songbirds that is now beginning to take place and which will continue if the project goes forward. . . . Meanwhile, SOS is joining with other environmental and neighborhood groups to prepare for the January release of Austin's draft "CodeNext" land development code rewrite. The rewrite is intended to implement the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan - which envisions a more healthy, sustainable, and affordable city. But early signs point to undue influence on the drafting process from development interests that would take the code in the opposite direction. Throughout next year we'll need our Austin supporters joining with us to assure that we get a code that protects our water, wildlife, parks, and open spaces comprehensively and as intended.
KML News: On October 26th the Plaintiffs in the Mopac/SH 45 SW toll loop lawsuit filed an appeal with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking immediate review of the trial court's denial of our request for a preliminary injunction. The Plaintiffs also requested a preliminary injunction from the appellate court in order to prevent TxDOT from clearing the SH 45 SW right of way beginning November 8th.
The court will likely rule on the preliminary injunction request within the next 10 days. Win or lose on this request for emergency relief, the case will continue towards a final decision in the months ahead. Read a copy of our emergency motion for injunction filed with the court here.
Late Friday, November 4th the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order denying our emergency motion for preliminary injunction to stop the clearing of the SH 45 SW right of way. We are of course extremely disappointed but not surprised. These motions are very difficult to win. But this battle is far from over. The three judges hearing our emergency motion made clear they were skeptical of TxDOT and CTRMA's legal arguments. Their order, pdf linked here (170 KB), tells us they have not yet ruled on the merits of our case.
In the oral argument, the judges also made clear they are particularly skeptical that TxDOT had prepared a required cumulative impacts analysis for the Mopac/SH 45 SW effort - an issue we have raised on appeal but did not raise in this narrower emergency motion. You can listen to the audio recording of the oral argument here.