Judge to rule on “party” status in September

Decision by Judge on 5 hour End Op hearing due early September.

The Aquifer Protectors! From L to R, Eric Allmon (attorney for Environmental Stewardship), Michele Gangnes (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Andy Meyer (Paige landowner), Darwyn Hanna (Bastrop landowner), Ernie Bogart (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Betz Brown (Lee County landowner), Don Grissom (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Steve Box (Executive Director Environmental Stewardship)

The Aquifer Protectors! From L to R, Eric Allmon (attorney for Environmental Stewardship), Michele Gangnes (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Andy Meyer (Paige landowner), Darwyn Hanna (Bastrop landowner), Ernie Bogart (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Betz Brown (Lee County landowner), Don Grissom (pro bono attorney for landowners Meyer, Hanna and Brown), Steve Box (Executive Director Environmental Stewardship)

In a preliminary hearing on Monday, August 12, 2013, Administrative Law Judge Michael O’Malley from the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), heard testimony and arguments from End Op (applicant), Environmental Stewardship and three landowners (petitioners), and counsel for the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District regarding the petitoners request for “party” status.  After 5 hours of testimony and cross-examination, Judge O’Malley advised that he will receive written responses by August 29th and will issue an order on his decision in early September.  A hearing on the merits of the contested case hearing will likely be held in February, 2014.  

Aqua Water Supply Corporation requested the contested case hearing and has already received party status. 

If granted, party status will provide an opportunity for Environmental Stewardship and the landowners to participate the February, 2014, hearing on the merits of the End Op Application.  End Op vigorously opposed our requests to participate in the hearing on merits.  

What does it mean to be granted Party Status?  This is a good news/ bad news scenario.  As we saw in the hearing, a contested case administrative hearing is very much like a court trial, except that it is heard by an administrative law judge from the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).  

The good news is that Environmental Stewardship and landowner attorneys, along with Aqua Water Supply Corporation, will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present expert witnesses to make our case for limiting or denying the  End Op permit application. 
The bad new is that we join the ranks of those needing to raise considerable money in order to be able to have our voices hears.  Yes, the paradigm continues: “Money Talks, All Others Get 3 Minutes. 
So we need your financial support now more than ever!

 Unfortunately, the fact is, it takes money to be heard.  Environmental Stewardship, along with the landowners, will need to launch an all out effort to make persuasive legal arguments that resonate with the Administrative Law Judge.  This will require our legal teams to call expert witness to credibly tell our story (expert witnesses cost money).  Our legal teams will have to discredit the claims of End Op and its expert witnesses through cross-examination.  To be successful in cross-examination takes a great deal of preparation (all of this cost money).  

THE STAKES ARE HIGH.  OUR WATER SUPPLY AND THE FUTURE 
OF OUR REGION IS AT RISK.  
Please consider making a generous TAX DEDUCTIBLE contribution today.
AND THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE MADE A PREVIOUS DONATION!  Your ongoing support is needed and appreciated. 
Click this link to DONATE NOW 
or, as an option, consider making a donation to the newly formed  
Lost Pines Water Defense Fund
P.O. Box 690, Elgin, TX 78621
 For more information call 512-657-2089

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