ENVIRONMENTAL AND WATER LAW
Plea to Jurisdiction Denied in Water Rights Dispute: Defendant New Braunfels Utilities
("NBU") sued the Lower Colorado River Authority ("LCRA")
and certain LCRA officials to quiet title to disputed water rights. Generally, NBU claimed LCRA sold and conveyed
certain water rights in the
NBL 300 Group Ltd. v.
Developer's Pleadings Support Subject Matter Jurisdiction in Wastewater
System Construction Agreement: Developer NBL and governmental unit GBRA
entered into an agreement where NBL was to provide and oversee wastewater
system construction and GBRA was to provide reimbursements from later
connections. After NBL sued GBRA in part
for breach of contract, GBRA filed a plea to the jurisdiction seeking dismissal
at the pleadings stage for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Held:
The appellate court reversed the trial court's grant of the plea, finding that
the legislature waived sovereign immunity from suit because the claim was for
breach of a contract for services and otherwise met relevant statutory
requirements for such waiver. See
West Travis County Public Utility Agency v. Travis County Municipal Utility Dist. No. 12, 537 S.W.3d 549 (Tex. App.—Austin 2017)
Sovereign Immunity from Suit Not Waived in Water Services Agreement Dispute: In this plea to the jurisdiction controversy, the appellate court reversed the trial court's denial of the Agency's plea and rendered judgment dismissing the MUD's claims. This opinion provides an example of strict statutory construction for any waiver of governmental immunity from suit. Any such waiver must be clear and unambiguous. In this case, the court determined that the dispute did not relate to a contract subject to Tex. Loc. Gov't. Code Ann. Sec. 271.152.
Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. v.
Denial of Air Pollution Tax Break for Generators Affirmed: Brazos Electric installed heat recovery steam
generators at two fossil fuel power plants resulting in more efficient
operation that generated more electricity with the same amount of fossil
fuel. Generally, Brazos Electric challenged
TCEQ's denial of an ad valorem tax break for installation of devices to comply
with federal and state air pollution abatement requirements. TCEQ denied the tax break after applying a
formula to balance increased capital costs for compliance with economic gain. See e.g.
Tex. Tax Code Ann. Sec. 11.31 and 30
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