The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily lifted a judge's order blocking Texas from issuing permits for a river system that supplies cities and industrial users in a dispute over protecting an endangered flock of whooping cranes.The federal appeals court in New Orleans, which made the ruling Tuesday at the request of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, also said it would expedite the state's appeal of a lower court's March 11 ruling that forbids the approval of new permits for the Guadalupe, San Antonio or Blanco rivers.The appellate court scheduled oral arguments in the case for August."Today's order halts the lower court's flawed decision -- and stops Texas from being coerced into a costly federal permitting regime," Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said in an email. "Equally important, the emergency stay is a huge win for the farmers, ranchers and communities along these Texas rivers who would have been irreparably harmed if the district court's order had taken effect."U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack in Corpus Christi said in her March 11 ruling that state regulators violated federal wildlife protections by failing to monitor how much water cities and industrial users took from the rivers during droughts.According to evidence at a 2011 trial, so much water was siphoned from the rivers during the 2009 drought that 23 birds, or 8.5 percent of the Texas whooping crane flock, died because insufficient freshwater flowed into the coastal marsh where the birds spend winter.The 5-foot-tall whooping crane was believed to be extinct until a flock of 15 survivors was found on an isolated stretch of Texas coastal marsh in the 1940s. There are about 500 whooping cranes alive today, according to trial evidence, with a flock of about 250 birds that migrates between Texas and Canada. That flock is the only self-sustaining wild population.The whooping cranes share a coastline with the world's largest concentration of refineries and petrochemical plants.