Court proceedings for the Sierra Club v. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) lawsuit were administratively closed last Wednesday. This ended five years of litigation regarding the accuracy of the floodplain map for Cypress Creek.
The dispute originated after multiple flooding events within recent years made it apparent that the floodplain map approved in 2007 was too low. The Harris County Flood Control District successfully redrew the flood maps in 2010, but an effected development group made technical complaints. The revised plans have halted progress of the Birdgelands Development, which spans approximately 10,000 acres south of U.S. Highway 290.
The dispute will now be settled by a court-approved Scientific Resolution Panel (SRP). The SRP will be comprised of five experts: two selected by Bridgelands, two selected by FEMA, and one selected by Harris County. They will have 90 days to review the most updated maps and make recommendations by December 7, 2012.
During the case last Wednesday, the attorney representing the Sierra Club expressed concerns that the panel will lack sufficient public input, stating “Harris County has aligned itself with Bridgelands.”
Read related commentary from the Sierra Club’s attorneys here.