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.  …

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.…

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.  

Environmental Stewardship seeks “Party Status” in Contested Permit Hearings

Bastrop, TX May 8, 2013.  Environmental Stewardship has requested “party status” in the contested case hearings requested by Aqua Water Supply Corporation concerning the groundwater permit application by Forestar (USA) Group seeking 45,000 acre-feet/year from the Simsboro Aquifer; End Op, LP seeking 56,000 acre-feet/year ; and the Lower Colorado River Authority seeking 10,000 acre-feet/year.  …

Lost Pines to Permit 5.6 Times More Water than Available

This is INSANE.   Lost Pines GCD is on the verge of permitting five and a half (5.6) times more water from the Simsboro aquifer than is available.  The total amount of Modeled Available Groundwater (MAG) from the Simsboro Aquifer by 2010 is 29,556 acre-feet/year per the Lost Pines Management Plan.  Lost Pines is currently considering permit applications for 119,199 acre-feet/yr which is 4 times more water than is available for pumping.  Adding the current 45,365 acre-feet/year already permitted brings the total to 164,884 acre-feet/yr which is 5.6 times the amount of water currently available (without considering Environmental Stewardship’s ecological concerns).  So far, the General Manager has recommended approval of ALL the applications that have been presented to the Board of Directors. See Permit Concerns for copies of GM Recommendations. 

LOST PINES GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT

will VOTE on the following applications at their next Board Meeting

Heart of Texas Suppliers, LP
Lower Colorado River Authority
Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc. 
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013, 
Regular Board Meeting 6:00 P.M.
Giddings City Hall, 118 East Richmond St., Giddings, TX 78942

 

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS
LOST PINES GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
will hold a public hearing and vote on the following applications
End Op , LP
Manville WSC

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013 
Hearing 7:00 P.M.
Giddings City Hall, 118 East Richmond St., Giddings, TX 78942

Environmental Stewardship sues to appeal decision by the Texas Water Development Board

Bastrop, TX.   Environmental Stewardship filed suit today challenging the Texas Water Development Board’s decision to dismiss its appeal of Groundwater Management Area 12 desired future conditions.  Click here for ES GMA-12 Petition and ES comments to TWDB.…