Pecos County Judge Happy With Fort Stockton City Council's Decision

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

FORT STOCKTON - It looks like it's going to be a fight to the finish over water in Fort Stockton.

NewsWest 9 spoke with Pecos County Judge Joe Shuster in Midland on Tuesday about the city council's decision to keep fighting for their water to stay in the county.

He said they've moved one step closer by partnering with the city, but the battle is just beginning.

"I've had several phone calls today (Tuesday) and everybody has congratulated us on the unity that the city and the county has put forth," Judge Shuster said.

On Monday night, in a unanimous vote, the Fort Stockton city council decided to reject an offer from Fort Stockton Holdings, the company owned by oilman Clayton Williams.

Instead, they'll join forces with the county and continue to fight a permit for Williams' company to pump water from Pecos County.

"I think after the city studied the proposals and looked at it over time, I think they decided to do what was best for Fort Stockton and the people," Judge Shuster said.

Just last week, the company and the county presented new proposals trying to win over the council members.

The county offered to pay for the city's water study and attorney's fees among other things, but Judge Shuster doesn't believe getting money from the company or the county played a role in their decision.

"I don't think it was anything in our proposal, I think this was driven by their heart," he said.

Now the next step is putting together a plan of action for the permit hearing set for April 7th.

But Judge Shuster said whatever is decided at that hearing, the fight could be far from over.

"I believe that either way it goes, that it will still end up in a court system someway, somehow," Shuster said.