Judge Hears Arguments on Landowners’ Right to Protest Groundwater Export, Ruling to Come

BASTROP – A state district judge in Bastrop on Wednesday heard arguments for and against the contention that four landowners are entitled to a new hearing because they were wrongfully excluded by the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District from participating in a 2013 administrative hearing.

The 2013 hearing resulted in a permit  to water marketer End-Op LP (now known as Recharge Water) that allows massive amounts of groundwater to be pumped and exported from Lee and Bastrop counties. The Oct. 18 hearing was part of a legal challenge to that permit.

Judge Carson Campbell ruled in favor of the landowners from the bench Wednesday on the question of whether he even has the authority to review the District’s decision to exclude them. A ruling on the landowners’ right to protest the permit is pending from Judge Campbell.

ES becomes a Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate

Environmental Stewardship became a Waterkeeper Affiliate organization on September 23, 2016. As a new Waterkeeper Affiliate, Environmental Stewardship works to protect and preserve the Texas Colorado River, associated aquifers, and the bays and estuaries of the Texas Gulf Coast by combining its first-hand knowledge of the waterway with an unwavering commitment to the rights of the community, to ecological health of waterways and aquifers, and to the rule of law.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Steve Box in Austin, TX.

“Waterkeeper Alliance is thrilled to have Steve Box, Executive Director, to be the eyes, ears, and voice for this vital watershed and community,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Every community deserves to have swimmable, drinkable, fishable and flowing water, and Mr. Box is the right leader to fight to protect the surface water and groundwater supplies in the Colorado River basin.”
For more information on see our webpage ES’ Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliation.  

Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF)

New Group Launches Fight To Protect Local Groundwater and Aquifers

BastropCoCourthouse2

Bastrop County Court House

ELGIN – Veterans of a long-standing fight to protect the area’s groundwater have joined forces and launched a new organization to help lead that effort.

The new group, the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF), includes volunteers from the League of Independent Voters, Environmental Stewardship, Sierra Club and Neighbors for Neighbors.

SEE END OF THIS POST FOR LINKS TO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SAWDF response to Bastrop Advertiser’s misleading article on July 21, 2016.

Environmental Stewardship Celebrates a Water Achievement in the Central Texas

Groundwater Availability Model improvements will include groundwater-surface water integration for the Colorado River and the Central Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer

After seven years of advocating for action on groundwater-surface water interaction  gma_12issues in Central Texas, we are on the verge of a major step forward in our efforts to protect the Colorado River and its tributaries from over-pumping of groundwater.   A recent contract between the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and INTERA Incorporated will play a vital step in helping planners understand and manage this important ecological and hydrological relationship, thereby achieving one of our major goals – to establishing a science link between groundwater and surface water to inform policy and management decisions.  …

Hearing on End Op’s Obstruction Attempt; Beal flies under radar

The Honorable Carson Campbell of the 21st Judicial District Court of Bastrop County will hold a hearing on End Op, LP’s “request for declaratory judgment on lack of jurisdiction.” (See background below).  The hearing will be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at the Bastrop County Court House, 804, Pecan Street, Bastrop, TX 78602.  The public is invited to attend.  Landowner attorneys will argue before the judge for dismissal of the request.

That’s a lot of legalese.  Basically, End Op is attempting to throw a stick in our spokes and derail our appeal in state court to gain “party status”. This is End Op’s ongoing attempt to deny local landowners their due process rights to oppose End Op’s permit application to export 46,000 ac-ft/yr (almost 15 billion gallons) of groundwater from Bastrop and Lee counties to feed the thirst of the  I-35/TX-130 growth corridor.  End Op has yet to find customers for that water after years of hustling.

Local Water Marketer Beal flies under the radar

LCRA Water Management Plan in final review at TCEQ

The TCEQ is in the final phase of reviewing the LCRA’s application to amend its Highland Lakes Water Management Plan (WMP).   Stakeholders from all sides of the issues made oral comments and submitted written comments during the month-long comment period that ended last week.

Environmental Stewardship (ES) provided both oral and written comments urging protection of the Colorado River and Madagorda Bay by guaranteeing “essential life support” level environmental flows.  ES also urged the TCEQ and LCRA to take a leadership role in doing the studies necessary to understand why more rain in the contributing watershed for the Highland Lakes has resulted in less inflows.

Board Delivers Verdict after LCRA Whines

The Lost Pines Board, at its January 21st meeting, delivered its decision on the LCRA’s application to amend Condition (1) of its groundwater pumping operating permit after LCRA whined that the Board was paying too much attention to the public’s concerns, especially Environmental Stewardship.…

ES, Landowners’ appeal to be heard by Board on August 13, 7:00 p.m., Bastrop Convention Center

Lawyers for Environmental Stewardship and Landowners will make oral arguments before the Lost  Pines Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors on August 13, 7:00 p.m. at the Bastrop Convention Center.  ES and Landowners are requesting that the decision by the ALJ to deny party status be reversed and remanded back to SOAH for contested case hearing.

The public is encouraged to attend.  Though public comments will not be heard, the face of the people needs to be seen.   This is a very important hearing about your rights to defend your interests in the groundwater beneath your land.

ES, Landowners appeal denial of party status

Environmental Stewardship (ES) and Landowners (Andrew Meyer, Bette Brown, and Darwyn Hanna) have filed an appeal of the decision by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to deny party status in the End Op contested case hearing.  The request was filed with the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors on August 1, 2014 and will be heard at a special meeting on August 13, 2014 in Bastrop, TX. The time and location of the meeting has not yet been established.  …

Forestar Files Suit Against Groundwater District & Directors

Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc. has filed suit in the 335th Judicial District in Lee County against the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District and its Board of Directors (Case No. 15,369). The suit is 1) an appeal of the Boards’ decision to deny Forestar’s application for 33,000 acre-feet per year of the 45,000 acre-feet per year of groundwater it requested, and 2) a claim for the taking or damaging of its property, and for its damages and attorney’s fees due to the District’s actions (a takings claim).  

Click here for copy of the petition.