Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

United States v. Houston Lighting & Power Co.

Citation: 2 ELR 20451
No. No. 72-G-12, (S.D. Tex., 06/30/1972)

Plaintiff denied preliminary injunction against defendant's construction in shallow but allegedly navigable waters of a cooling pond for use by its fossil fuel electricity generating plant. Construction of the pond was substantially completed when hearing for preliminary injunction commenced. Whether or not to grant a preliminary injunction lies in the discretion of the court. Interlocutory relief which will compel affirmative acts by defendant should be rarely granted, in accordance with the rules set down in Citizens Committee for the Hudson Valley v. Volpe, 1 ELR 20006. At this point, the court is not convinced that plaintiff will succeed on the merits as to whether the waters in dispute are navigable. Continued operation of the cooling pond until trial on the merits will not interfere with actual navigation nor have more than a minimal effect on the area ecology. Defendant would suffer considerable expense in removing the pond and rebuilding it later if defendant prevails on the merits. Moreover, the public interest in the production of electricity balances the government's concern to protect the area's natural resources. Accordingly, a preliminary injunction will not issue at this time.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Jack Shepherd Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney
Federal Building
515 Rusk Avenue
Houston, Texas 77002

Counsel for Defendant
William R. Brown
Baker & Botts
One Shell Plaza
Houston, Texas 77002