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.

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

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.

Forestar Rehearing Well Attended and Well Organized

On December 16, 2013, the Board of Directors held a rehearing on the Forestar application requesting 45,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year.  The Board has previously granted Forestar a permit for 12,000 acre-feet per year. 

 

The hearing was a well attended and well organized.  We thank the Board and staff for working with Environmental Stewardship and others to ensure that the public had an opportunity to hear the arguments of the Applicant (Forestar) and District Staff prior to making public comments.  We also thank the Board for allowing the public to pool its time so that we could make our arguments in a manner that could be heard and understood by the Board, the Applicant, and the Public. 

 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board adjourned the hearing but did not take action on the application. Our impression is that the Board will take some time to review the information provided at the hearing and make a written response to the Applicant early next year.  At that time the decision of the Board on the application will be final.  The board can, however, render its decision any time before that date.

   

Our message to the Board:

Nothing has changed, STANDING STRONG!

We have your back.

 …

Hays County Grossly Misinformed on Water Facts

Judge Bert Cobb of Hays County, in his haste to “reserve water in the name of Hays County” [and the so-called “Hays Region”] has failed to do his homework regarding water facts.  He, along with Commissioner Ray Whisenant, have grossly misinformed the residents of Hays and surrounding counties.  I’d like to set the record straight on a few of their more draconian statements.