NB 'can ban' heads to Austin appeals court

Question over river jurisdiction remains


NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – It was a small victory in court Monday for opponents of the ban on disposable containers on the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers.

A judge ruled that opponents of the ban have the right to challenge it. That group argues that the state has jurisdiction over the rivers, not the city of New Braunfels. 

The city filed an appeal to Monday's decision, which means the case now heads to an appeals court in Austin.

Coley Reno, owner of Texas Tubes on the Comal River, is one of several business owners fighting the ban. 

"You can't control something you don't have jurisdiction of," said Reno. "I think if the city would realize that, we could work together and really make this a positive thing."

The so-called "can ban" was put in place last year. Both supporters and opponents agree that the idea is to decrease littering on the river. And according to some residents, it's working, which makes opposition to the ban hard for them to understand. 

"The river is clean and I don't have to pick up any trash floating by," said Sharon, who lives in New Braunfels. "It's very, very nice."

She says the ban has also changed the landscape of river tourists. 

"More families, which is a good thing, because families spend more money and that's what we like," Sharon said.

Aside from the one in court, there is another challenge that comes along with the ban: clearing up misconceptions. Many would-be tubers believe the ban is on alcohol on the river, not just disposable containers. 

"You can drink anything you want on the river, but you still have to put it in a non-disposable container," Reno said.  

No date has been set for when the appeal will be heard in Austin. 

For now, the ban remains in effect on the rivers meaning that only reusable containers are allowed.

For a list of recent stories Myra Arthur has done, click here.

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