Galveston has joined key state agencies in pleading with the court to reconsider a ruling that favors private property rights over public access to Texas shores.
“I think the Supreme Court really needs to understand the impact of its ruling. It’s not just a theoretical question — they just changed Galveston Island’s ability to nourish its beaches,” Mayor Joe Jaworski said.
“These are Texas’ beaches,” he said. “It’s ironic that the Supreme Court has essentially said it’s every man for himself.”
Jerry Patterson, the Texas land commissioner, said he canceled the beach project because the court ruling removed the guarantee of public access to the area, which extends west of Galveston’s seawall to 13 Mile Road . The Texas Constitution forbids spending public money to benefit private property.
“Our hands are tied now,” Patterson said at the time.
Late last week, Galveston County joined a motion by Patterson and Attorney General Greg Abbott that asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling as unwise, unsound and unworkable.
The motion for rehearing argued that the ruling disregarded the state’s long-valued tradition of public beach access. The court also ignored its own precedents and the policies of “every other branch of Texas government” when it declared that the public beach easement lasts only until the next devastating storm, the brief said.
The motion also warned that the ruling threatens other beach-restoration projects, not just the canceled Galveston effort.
“In the absence of a clear public easement, the state also lacks any clear authority for pursuing the kind of essential beach-renourishment projects on which the local economies of our coastal communities depend,” the brief said.
See here for more. I don’t have a whole lot of faith that the court will take any action, but it’s worth a shot to ask them. You’d also think, if Abbott and Patterson are on board with this, that it ought to be possible to get a constitutional amendment to correct the court’s erroneous ruling through the Lege. I hope someone is thinking about that.