The hearing for
a preliminary injunction on Segment E of the Grand Parkway ended on Wednesday afternoon,
November 16th. Our case, Sierra Club vs. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers et.al., is centered
on the increased risks resulting from the additional runoff into the Addicks Reservoir
that would be generated from the Segment E construction and secondary development in the
Addicks and Upper Cypress Creek watersheds. Addicks Dam (and also Barker Dam) have been
classified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as Level 1, the highest rank, in posing an
"Urgent and Compelling" danger of failure. Of about 300 dams rated by the Corps
under its Dam Safety Action Classification (DSAC), only 6 have been ranked as Level 1 -
and Addicks and Barker Dams are two of them.
Our case was presented by Jim Blackburn, with additional counsel from Mary Carter,
David Kahne, and Mary Conner. Larry Dunbar, P.E., testified as our expert witness in
hydrology. We had a good showing of 14 supporters present in the courtroom.
Although we did not receive the preliminary injunction, we were pleased with the
overall outcome. Judge Ellison gave two reasons for not issuing the preliminary
- The Sierra Club could not post a bond of $100,000 + plus per day as requested by the
- We did not prove that irreparable harm would occur within the next 3 months if the
preliminary injunction were not granted.
Judge Ellison issued his decision after hearing opening arguments from each side,
testimony from Larry Dunbar, and cross-examination of Dunbar. During his comments, he
indicated that he understood the situation with the cumulative impacts of the project, but
that the Sierra Club had not met the criteria as per items #1 and #2 above.
Judge Ellison wants to proceed to a decision on the merits of the case and has set an
ambitious schedule as follows:
- The administrative record is to be filed by Dec. 20th.
- Thirty days after the administrative record is filed or after Dec. 20th, whichever is
earlier, motions for summary judgment must be filed by the two parties.
- Twenty days afterward, each party must file a response brief.
- Ten days afterward, each party files a reply to the opposing response.
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