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.
Barring other actions, we will lose some important Golden-cheeked warbler habitat over the next month or two. But we will have a final ruling in the next few months, well before the bulk of the harm will be inflicted on the Edwards Aquifer, Barton Springs, endangered salamanders, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Zilker Park, and current Mopac commuters.
The current case focuses on TxDOTs and CTRMA's violations of the National Environmental Policy Act. TxDOT and CTRMA have yet to comply with Endangered Species Act requirements. Those issues will also now come forward, along with the NEPA issues.
Stay tuned and please continue supporting this important battle with your tax-deductible donations to Save Our Springs Alliance.