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.
Today U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel pdf issued an order (489 KB) denying a request from SOS Alliance, former Austin mayors Carole Keeton and Frank Cooksey, Save Barton Creek Assn, and others for a preliminary injunction to stop the clearing of the proposed SH 45 SW right-of-way. The court ruling means TxDOT and its toll road partner, CTRMA, are free to begin clearing the right of way, which crosses the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer recharge zone and includes at least 58 acres of mature oak/Ashe juniper woodland habitat for the endangered Golden-cheeked warbler. TxDOT and CTRMA have said they intend to initiate the land clearing on or about November 8th.
TxDOT and CTRMA, if they go forward as planned, still face potential liability under the Endangered Species Act for unauthorized harm to the endangered warbler and the endangered Barton Springs salamander and Austin blind salamander.
On Wednesday, October 12th, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel held a hearing on the Plaintiffs’ request in Fath et a. v. TxDOT and CTRMA to grant a preliminary injunction that would keep the CTRMA from cutting and ripping out the trees and other vegetation along the proposed SH 45 SW right of way in advance of initiating construction on the toll road. CTRMA officials told the court they would begin clearing the right of way on or about November 8th without an injunction.
The Plaintiffs, including SOS Alliance, former Austin Mayors Frank Cooksey and Carole Keeton, Texas music legend Jerry Jeff Walker, Save Barton Creek Assn, and others, seek to protect endangered species habitats, mature woodlands, caves, sinkholes and other recharge features, and Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer waters until there can be a trial on the merits some time in early 2017.
The second ever Barton Springs University scored a big win for water literacy and fun. Check out the photos here and this great piece from KUT radio. The Statesman's Asher Price gave some nice coverage as well.
Thank you to everyone who participated-students, teachers, partners, sponsors, lifeguards, speakers, volunteers, musicians - everyone! The weather was perfect, the springs gushing strong and clear, the instructors and activity guides amazing, the sponsors and partners generous, and the students, teachers, and other attendees appreciative and attentive.
Keep Mopac Local coalition leaders who filed suit in February to stop the proposed SH 45 SW/South Mopac toll loop from being built without a comprehensive federal environmental lawsuit won the first round. Late Tuesday U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel denied the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss the case across the board. Read the Statesman story and the Austin Monitor coverage at the links. The court's order is here. folder Legal Documents