Austin, San Marcos, Kyle join second legal challenge to Permian Highway Pipeline over endangered species

The Barton Springs salamander is one of eight species referenced in the notice of intent to sue.

The Barton Springs salamander is one of eight species referenced in the notice of intent to sue.

The cities of Austin, Kyle and San Marcos have joined with the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District and the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association in filing a notice of intent to sue federal agencies over the anticipated impact of the Permian Highway Pipeline on several endangered species.

“Ours represents a broad, diverse coalition of landowners, cities and environmental [nongovernmental organizations],” said William Eubanks, the attorney who filed the notice of intent. “I’ve been doing this work for a long time, and it’s rare on any issue that you see this many types of entities coming together and collaborating on a singe project.”

It is the second notice of intent to sue both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over permitting of Kinder Morgan’s $2 billion natural gas pipeline, which is set to run through the Texas Hill Country.

But while the first related primarily to the golden-cheeked warbler, the second, which is dated Oct. 16, also includes seven aquifer-based species.

Both actions attempt to push Kinder Morgan into a full and public environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act, which will only happen under a more rigorous permitting process from the Corps and USFW.

Eubanks said that right now it appears the company is only pursuing a general nationwide permit.

“Normally a project proponent like Kinder Morgan would have to go seek a permit and obtain it, and it would take time, and the public would get to be involved,” Eubanks said. “Our understanding is that none of that is happening here.”

Members of the Texas Real Estate Advocacy and Defense Coalition are funding both notices of intent; the TREAD Coalition also funded a lawsuit over the use of eminent domain by private companies that is currently on appeal.

A statement by Kinder Morgan said the company was “not commenting in length” on the legal challenge but mentioned the company’s recent unrelated settlement with the city of Kyle.

“The City of Kyle’s potential participation in this litigation was specifically contemplated in the settlement agreement,” the statement reads.

Note: This story has been updated from the original.
By Katharine Jose
Katharine Jose has written about politics, infrastructure, environment, development, natural disasters and other subjects for The New York Observer, Capital New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She was an editor for several publicat


MOST RECENT

Seniors from San Marcos High School paraded down McCarty Lane in San Marcos May 29. (Evelin Garcia/ Community Impact Newspaper)
GALLERY: Here’s how a parent-led parade honored San Marcos High School seniors

Thundering cheers echoed down McCarty Lane in San Marcos on May 29 as an army of high school seniors wearing caps and gowns paraded down the street on flashy rides.

The Central Texas Food Bank will host a food distribution event in Kyle on May 30. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Central Texas Food Bank distribution event in Kyle on May 30

Food bank expects more than 1,000 families at distribution

Volunteers load cars at a distribution event in South Austin on May 28. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Six food distribution events scheduled by Central Texas Food Bank in June

Residents who face food insecurities can drive up with their vehicles for no-contact pickup.

(Courtesy Fotolia)
New school schedules and a road opening: Latest news from Central Texas

Read the latest news from Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Central Texas area.

Miriam McCoy and Brenda Remme were lead donors for the new transitional housing project. (Courtesy Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center)
Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center breaks ground on $4 million transitional housing project

After years of planning and preparation, the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center’s transitional housing project broke ground virtually April 17.

A May 27 preliminary budget discussion showed Central Health expects to see a slow-down in property tax revenue growth in fiscal year 2020-21. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Early budget forecasts from Central Health show anticipated 'slow-down' in tax revenue collection

Preliminary budget forecasts from Central Health show the health care district anticipates a slow down in tax revenue collection growth.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

Each eligible child will receive $285 in benefits. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Some Texas students eligible for one-time federal benefit to aid with food purchases

Texas received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide more than $1 billion in pandemic food benefits.

Here are the coronavirus updates to know today. (Community Impact staff)
Hays County nears 4,000 tests administered for coronavirus

Cases rise by 18 in Hays County on May 27

The new coffee shop is located at 817 Chestnut St., Ste. 221, San Marcos. (Courtesy Kahvie Lofts)
Kahvie Lofts coffee shop now open in San Marcos

The coffee shop features a menu inspired by a blend of different cultures with the intention to serve the best from everywhere, according to owner Sarah Nicotra.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)
Texas comptroller predicts slow, steady economic turnaround post-pandemic

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state entered the era of the coronavirus in a healthy financial situation, which bodes well for the future as reopening continues, but that Texans are not out of the woods yet.

Nursing facilities across Texas will be able to apply for federal funds to purchase devices to connect residents to friends and family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces $3.6 million project to connect nursing home residents to families

Gov. Greg Abbott announced May 27 that $3.6 million will be provided to nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams and headphones to connect residents with family members.