Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

January 11, 2010

Fastrill Reservoir remains long shot, authorities report

By Nathan Straus

nstraus@jacksonvilleprogress.com



Conservation officials said the chances of the Supreme Court of the United States overturning Dallas’ bid to put a reservoir across Cherokee and Anderson counties are still exceptionally low.

A spokesperson for the city of Dallas said consideration of whether the court will hear the case could come as early as Feb. 19.

Co-founder of Friends of the Neches River Michael Banks said he wishes the Supreme Court would hurry along a decision.

“We’re still confident they will rule that they will not hear the case,” Banks said. “Even if they do hear the case, the odds are overwhelming they won’t overturn previous decisions.”

The wildlife refuge was approved in 2006 and, when complete, would occupy much of the same land the reservoir would otherwise use. These two projects cannot co-exist.

Chris Bowers, first assistant city attorney of Dallas, said the city is currently working toward a due date for a reply regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s brief, which has already been submitted.

“We had 10 days to file our reply brief,” Bowers said. “We might seek a short extension. Ours is due roughly a week from Monday.”

Bowers said the court could review the brief some time in February and added he expects the court to consider Dallas’ petition on Feb. 19. He said it’s possible a decision on whether to take the case will be made on the spot, but a decision can be held off until a later date as well.

“If you take a look at the statistics, the odds are against us,” Bowers said. “It depends on the other cases brought to the Supreme Court, too. If it’s a weak year, it helps our case.”

A clear interest in the case on the Supreme Court level exists, Bower said.

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