Oil tycoon Clayton Williams Jr. has dismissed a defamation suit he filed against Fort Stockton Mayor Ruben Falcon.
The dispute began when the mayor claimed that Williams' proposed water-drilling project in Pecos County would adversely affect the city’s water supply.
“I filed the lawsuit to clear up what I saw as an unfair cloud over my reputation,” Williams said in a statement released today. “A reputation for honesty is important to me.”
Williams and his company, Fort Stockton Holdings, have a permit application on file with the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District to pump more than 15 trillion gallons of water annually from the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer for transport and use outside of Fort Stockton.
In court documents dated December 2009, Williams alleged Falcon “indicated that individuals associated with Fort Stockton Holdings L.P. wanted to ‘roll right over several landowners by their abuse of condemnation power to condemn easements.’”
Williams said the two have come to an agreement and Falcon agreed to retract the statements he made. Falcon admitted he was relieved at the dismissal but vowed to continue the city’s quest for a moratorium on the project.
“The citizens of Fort Stockton are still strongly opposed to the transportation of their drinking water out of the aquifer and with the law suit out of the way, it gives me full concentration on this matter,” he said.
While Falcon and other city officials allege the project could harm the local water supply, Williams reverts attention to his current permit, which allows him access to the same amount he has applied for for irrigation purposes. Williams must apply for a new permit if the intended use of the water changes. The city is conducting its own studies and a final decision on the permit application is not expected for several months.