Tex. Comm'n on Envtl. Quality v. City of Waco (Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (Commission) granted an amendment to a dairy concentrated animal feeding operation's water-quality permit. A downstream city (City) sought to intervene in the permit process and obtain a contested case hearing, claiming that the dairy's operations under the amended permit would adversely affect the quality of the municipal water supply. By rule, an affected person may request a contested case hearing when authorized by law. The Commission granted the amended permit without a contested case hearing. The City appealed, claiming it was an "affected person" entitled to a contested case hearing. The district court affirmed, but the court of appeals reversed, concluding that the City was an affected person entitled to a hearing. The Supreme Court reversed and rendered judgment for the Commission, holding (1) a person affected by a proposed water-quality permit has the right to request a hearing, but the Commission has discretion to deny the request under certain circumstances; and (2) sufficient evidence supported the Commission's determination that the proposed amended permit did not foreclose Commission discretion to consider the amended application at a regular meeting rather than after a contested case hearing.