Certificates of Convenience and Necessity
Mark McPherson’s first water rights case involved a CCN dispute. Mark spent three days in a contested case evidentiary hearing opposing a CCN holder’s application to cancel its CCN, which would have left his client with no water supply. Even though the TCEQ’s Executive Director argued that the CCN should be canceled, the administrative law judge determined that the application to cancel the CCN should be denied. And Mr. McPherson has been focusing his practice on environmental and water rights ever since.
CCNs give the holders monopoly power to provide water or sewer service to a defined geographic area (a Certificated Area). But because CCN holders have a monopoly, they must provide the entire area with continuous and adequate water or sewer service. Removing property from a certified area can be very difficult and costly. If you are considering buying land in a CCN Certificated Area, you owe it to yourself to conduct appropriate due diligence on the ability of the CCN holder to provide continuous and adequate service to the tract of your desire.
Historically, in many instances persons sought and obtained CCNs over vast geographic areas with little to no financial ability to provide the area with continuous and adequate service. Landowners had very few rights to receive notice of, and participate in, the granting, amendment or termination of the CCN. Once land was included in a CCN Certificated Area, a landowner could not remove his land without going through a costly and time-consuming contested case proceeding at the TCEQ. As a result the CCN holder could (and in several instances did) require hefty payments from landowners before consenting to removing their land from the Certificated Area without using the expensive contested case process.
Now, landowners in a CCN certificated area have additional rights to participate in the CCN permitting process. And in some instances landowners can remove their land from the CCN area using expedited removal processes administered by TCEQ. Mark McPherson has a history of successfully asserting the rights of landowners and developers against CCN holders, moving property into or out of CCN Certificated Areas.