Fort Stockton Holdings Files Suit Against Groundwater Conservation District Suit Charges “Wrongful” Denial of Permit

(Midland, TX – January 20) Fort Stockton Holdings LP has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, the Western District of Texas/Pecos Division, against the Middle Pecos Ground Water Conservation District. The company said it needed to protect its legal rights and property rights because the District wrongfully refused to accept and process for hearing FSH’s application for a permit to produce and transport water out of Pecos County. FSH planned to supply much needed water for municipal and industrial purposes to neighboring communities in other parts of West Texas. Whether the permit is ultimately awarded or not, company officials noted that the process should be fair and follow the District’s own prescribed rules.

In filing the lawsuit, the company noted that they had conducted four studies over more than twenty years, including a recent study with current and comprehensive information related to groundwater availability in the Edwards-Trinity aquifer in Pecos County.  The most recent study was done by Thornhill Group, Inc., well known and respected in their field as objective, independent experts and recognized for their experience and integrity. FSH’s application is for an amount of water to be taken out of Pecos County equal to its existing permits.

The District continued to maintain that FSH’s application is ‘incomplete’ which the company disputes. Further, the District adopted new and unneeded regulations and hurdles after FSH had filed its application, and then applied them retroactively to FSH.

Personnel from the District raised a long list of issues on January 15, 2010, all of which were addressed previously by FSH.

“While water is admittedly an issue with a charged history which generates emotional responses, FSH and the Williams family have taken extraordinary care to be a good corporate citizen, to follow the law and to protect neighboring owners’ groundwater rights, including the rights and needs of the City of Fort Stockton,” said Paul Latham, an executive with the company. He also noted that they offered to share financial benefit derived from the sale of the water with the City.

“FSH and the Williams family emphasize that they are taking this step with great regret because they have no alternative to protect their property rights. The company and the family have historic and deep ties to the area and take seriously their responsibility to safeguard the aquifer in Pecos County,” said Latham.

Finally, the company noted that these issues are far broader than FSH’s business interests. While agricultural usage may have once been the best use of water, the region has changed and developed, and neighboring municipalities and businesses which will employ individuals need water. “FSH is looking to the future and attempting to provide for future needs, as well as protect its property rights,” said Latham

ABOUT FORT STOCKTON HOLDINGS: Fort Stockton Holdings, L.P., is a Texas limited partnership, owned by members of the Clayton Williams family. It operates in Pecos County, Texas, to develop and produce its groundwater rights, the majority of which have been owned by the Williams family for over seventy years.

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