The Third Court of Appeals in Austin has spoken. It is time for taxpayers to demand the Chambers Liberty County Navigation District stop their illegal scheme to occupy 23,000 acres of Galveston Bay.

If not, the commissioners should be removed.

The court delivered a clear message. The CLCND overstepped its authority when it gave a lease to a company called STORM to control the harvesting of oysters.

And the ruling has significant financial consequences. The navigation district may face huge damages for occupying the territory. The appeals court cites state law that anyone who unlawfully possesses a fish is liable for the value of the fish unlawfully possessed.

For CLCND that could mean millions in potential damages.

For STORM it could mean trouble too. The company has tried to keep other oyster companies with state leases out of the area. They seek to control parts of the bay where public reefs are located.

It is time for the Chambers County District Attorney to launch a criminal investigation into possible criminal violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. There is evidence the Commissioners violated the law in their secret dealings with STORM.

“If the CLCND does not call an emergency meeting to stop this now, it is possible taxpayers in Liberty and Chambers County face a real risk of having to pay for this scheme,” says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting.

This is the third ruling in recent weeks against the navigation district. There are already calls for the legislature to investigate the need for the agency.

The messages are loud and clear. The question is simple. Are the politicians in Anahuac prepared to explain themselves to taxpayers?