Houston River Authority Loses Antitrust Appeal in Water Fee Case

Aug. 3, 2021, 10:58 PM

The San Jacinto River Authority lost its bid Tuesday to have the Fifth Circuit shut down a challenge by two private utilities to its groundwater fees after a federal judge in Houston let the case move forward.

The appeals court upheld a decision by Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore, who ruled last year that the agency must face antitrust claims over rules requiring high-volume consumers to reduce their usage or face huge fines, as well as related contracts giving “safe harbor” to utilities paying certain fees.

Gilmore rejected the SJRA’s argument that its regulator status gave it “state action” immunity against ...

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