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. Continue reading
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).
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.
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.
In a reversal, Forestar’s Request for Rehearing was GRANTED in a Special Called Board Meeting.
Our message to the Board:
Nothing has changed, STANDING STRONG! We have your back.
In a special called board meeting held on November 4th, the Lost Pines Board of Directors heard arguments from Forestar’s attorney that, for the first time in public, laid out their proposal for a “phase-in staging” of permits over a 25 year period. This proposal is, in the words of their attorney, “an effort to avoid further conflict and potential litigation”. Forestar has made their position clear: Obtain permits for 45,000 acre-feet per year … or … litigate. The board voted to grant a re-hearing, but the date has not been set.
Forestar’s Request for Rehearing was “essentially denied” by Lost Pines Board of Directors.
THANK YOU BOARD for STANDING STRONG! We will have your back.
In a bitter-sweet victory, and to a standing ovation of local landowners and citizens, the Lost Pines Board of Directors “essentially denied” Forestar’s request for a rehearing of their application for 45,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year when the motion failed to get a second and no action was taken to grant or deny the request. “This [request] has essentially been denied,” said President Mike Talbot. Continue reading
An Open Letter to the
Lost Pines GCD Board of Directors from its Constituents
RE: Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc. Motion for Rehearing
Dear Board of Directors,
Forestar’s request for a rehearing on the permits LPGCD granted earlier this year was on the agenda for the Board’s September 18, 2013, meeting, but was postponed until the October 16, 2013,Board meeting. Several events pertinent to this permit have occurred since that postponement, but the message from the coalition of landowners and citizens who want to protect the future of Lee and Bastrop Counties remains the same: Stand strong in your duty to protect and conserve the aquifers under our two counties.
Landowners in Bastrop and Lee counties who were recently denied the right to be heard in a contested case hearing are appealing the decision.
The landowners had sought “party status” in the End Op contested case hearing being held before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). This administrative decision has broad, significant implications throughout Texas for landowners wanting to protect the groundwater in place beneath their lands. Click here for decision
Decision by Judge on 5 hour End Op hearing due early September.
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.
“Thank you, you are doing the right thing. WE HAVE YOUR BACK.
STAND TALL AND STAY THE COURSE”.
Forestar Group (USA) took initial steps on June 3rd to enable it to file suit against Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (District) when it formally requested “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” from the District (Forestar letter). We believe that Forestar is pressuring the Board to reverse their decision and grant all 45,000 ac-ft/yr of groundwater as requested, OR BE SUED. Continue reading