U.S. Supreme Court Drowns City of Dallas's Hopes for Taking Water From Neches River

The U.S. Supreme Court today has ruled against the city of Dallas in its lawsuit over the proposed Neches River Reservoir -- an 11th hour reprieve for the state's last wild river. It's a two-word ruling - "certiorari denied" - but it means the city is out of luck on its plan to dam the Neches.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal of lower court rulings that went against the city.

East Texas opponents of the reservoir plan and Texas conservationists are already hailing the decision as a huge victory for the environment. (As in: "There is enough water in existing reservoirs for Dallas to have all the water it needs for future growth.") It may be all of that, but it's also a sign of tougher times ahead for water-hungry urban areas in Texas.

The country folk have wised up. Telling them they can run their bass boats on the reservoir when it's finished is not enough any more. In this case, local opposition had to do with anger over eminent domain and the prospect of what is now considered an urban land-use - recreational lakes with drunks on them.

I have a call in to First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers and have been talking to the enviros. More forthcoming. The dam has burst.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze