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.

The primary reason for the challenge is that the Board did not substantiate its conclusions used to deny ES’s appeal.  For example, instead of providing evidence that ES’s evidence was wrong, the Board argued that the evidence was “out of context,” “outside the scope of these proceedings,” or “conflicting and inconclusive.”   Steve Box, ES’s Executive Director told the Board at the June 21 session:  “We consider this an abandonment of their duty.”

The challenge appeal seeks both a reversal and remand of the June 21 action of the Board to approve the desired future conditions for multiple aquifers adopted by GMA 12 groundwater conservation districts, and to deny ES’s petition appealing the DFCs.

In its new pleading, ES’s claims include the following: 1) the Board’s denial of its petition should be reversed; 2) the decision to approve the DFCs remanded to the Board with directions that it comply with its own rules in determining whether or not a DFC is reasonable; 3) that denial of ES’s petition by the Board violated its own rules in an arbitrary and capricious manner because GMA 12’s actions failed to follow its public duty to preserve and protect the State’s waters and streams; and 4) the Board failed to adequately consider the DFCs’ impairment of property rights such as surface water rights in the Colorado and Brazos Rivers.

ES predicts that the lawsuit will require the Board to reconsider the original evidence presented and to cause GMA 12 to submit new DFCs.   “Bottom line, we do not think the Board or GMA 12 adequately considered the DFCs’ impacts on surface waters and surface water property rights, but rather unjustly favored water marketers and developers with their decision,” said Box.