Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 December 2011 15:13 )
LEGAL ADVOCACY FOR AQUIFER PROTECTION
Save Our Springs (SOS) Alliance attorneys provide a legal voice for the water, wildlife and open spaces that make living in Central Texas worthwhile. Maintaining attorneys on staff ensures the most informed and cost-effective advocacy possible for our major program areas: biodiversity, transportation, and land and water stewardship. We are the only public interest legal staff in Texas dedicated to preservation of the Edwards Aquifer, its Hill Country watersheds, and Barton Springs.
SOS Alliance attorneys represent and advise SOS and other groups in administrative permit hearings, zoning and local land use decisions, environmental assessment compliance, and state and federal court litigation. Our attorneys also engage in policy research and writing and communicating with the public and key decision-makers. We focus our actions on the largest threats to the Hill Country watersheds, including, for example, regulatory rollbacks, major highway expansions, and large developments.
We have seen the difference knowledgeable attorneys working on public interest salaries can make as opposed to engaging private attorneys at hourly rates. Over the years our staff attorneys have: argued successfully before the Texas Supreme Court in upholding the citizen initiated SOS Ordinance; won two federal lawsuits leading to the listing of the Barton Springs salamander as an endangered species; prevailed in actions holding local governments accountable for violations of the Texas Open Meetings and Public Information Acts; won compliance with local and state water quality protection laws; and helped defeat state legislation reducing local control powers.
The current political and economic climate in Texas leaves the Aquifer in great peril. There is significant pressure to pave the Hill Country with subdivisions and strip malls claiming “grandfather” status from current environmental standards. As sprawl expands into the Hill Country, so does the need for environmental attorneys. In response, in 2003 we began providing legal assistance to the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, a coalition of groups and individual landowners across the larger Edwards Aquifer region.