Board votes in split decision to appeal Judge Campbell’s decision favoring landowners

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 an ironic twist, having denied Landowners a seat at the table in the original 2014 contested case hearing involving End Op’s application for a massive groundwater permit, the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District’s Board of Directors essentially did it again Thursday night. The Board voted 4 to 2 to appeal Judge Campbell’s decision favoring the Landowners. This time, saying they are appealing because they want to be sure they have … A SEAT AT THE TABLE.  

End Op files notice of appeal in Bastrop groundwater case

District leaves appeal open to End Op by inaction

Environmental Stewardship Executive Director Steve Box on Wednesday urges the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District board not to appeal a court decision allowing a group of Bastrop County landowners to challenge a permit for Recharge Water to withdraw 15 billion gallons of groundwater annually from the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. MARY HUBER/BASTROP ADVERTISER

January 25 2018.

The Lost Pines District “tabled” any action on Judge Carson Campbell’s ruling earlier in January. We did not want the District to appeal the Judge’s ruling in favor of four landowners, but we did not want the District to create a vacuum either.

The District’s failure to move forward with a hearing in adherence to the judge’s order has left uncertainty in the District’s position, creating an opportunity for End Op to continue the litigation for now through an appeal.  As such, yesterday End Op acted on that opening and filed an appeal of the Judge’s Final Judgement in the Court of Appeals for the Third District of Texas (Austin).

The District should respect the judge’s ruling and expeditiously grant a hearing to Landowners (Plaintiffs), thereby putting an end to the District’s enabling of End Op’s recent appeal.

Sitting-on-their-hand makes the District complicit in the appeal that End Op has now filed.

To clearly move in adherence to Judge Campbell’s ruling, the District needs to take two affirmative public actions: 1) immediately direct their attorneys not to appeal, and 2) affirmatively granting a hearing on the End Op permit application that includes the Landowners as parties.

Appeal of judge’s ruling on Bastrop groundwater issue up in the air

Article by Mary Huber, Bastrop Advertiser

ATTENTION BASTROP AND LEE COUNTY LANDOWNERS

READ ON AND TAKE ACTION

Board delays decision on appealing Judge’s ruling favoring landowners

 The Lost Pines’ Board was unable to make a decision on appealing Judge Carson Campbell’s ruling favoring landowners at its January 17 meeting.   Read today’s article in the Bastrop Advertiser/Statesmen The Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District’s Board of Directors declined to make a decision on its option to appeal  Judge Carson Campbell’s January 4,…

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, 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.  …

Coalition Claims Victory at Groundwater Meeting

Mina Elementary 4th grade "Green Team" commented to Board

Mina Elementary 4th grade “Green Team” commented to Board

Bastrop, TX  – The people of Bastrop and Lee counties gained a MAJOR VICTORY at last night’s Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District hearings.  The Board of Directors listened … and they acted on our behalf. 

THANK YOU Lost Pines BOARD MEMBERS!
1)  LCRA’s request for 10,000 acre-feet/year was cut back 50% to 5,000 acre-feet/year except in years when the counties are in drought conditions.
2)  Forestar’s request for 45,000 acre-feet/year to export was cut back 75% to 12,000 acre-feet/year.
3)  Environmental Stewardship and a group of landowners were accepted for timely filing of their request for “party status” at the End Op contested case hearing to be held before the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

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.  …

Coalition Asks that Desired Future Conditions be Protected in Permits

PERMIT THIS NOT BANKRUPTCYThe Forestar, End Op, and LCRA applications will harm existing permitted wells, the environment, and are far in excess of the DFC and MAG (defined below).  We, a coalition of Environmental Stewardship, Neighbors for Neighbors, Lost Pines Sierra Club, and Groups United to Advocate Responsible Development “GUARD,” believe that, if permitted at all, individual permits should first be reduced to levels actually supported by the application and then all permits reduced overall as necessary to an aggregate level that, including existing permits, protects the Adopted Desired Future Conditions.  In summary, if permitted at all, Forestar and End Op qualify for less than 5% of the water they are seeking.  In addition, the District needs to factor in the impact of existing permits before issuing any new permits. This has not been done. …

Draw-down Maps obtained by Environmental Stewardship

PERMIT THIS NOT BANKRUPTCY

PRINT FLYER

What does “draw-down” resulting from groundwater pumping look like on a map?  As you may know, the Desired Future Conditions are established in terms of the draw-down, in feet, of aquifers in Bastrop and Lee counties and throughout the District.

Recently, Environmental Stewardship obtained visual images based on the Groundwater Availability Model (GAM) used by the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District to evaluate the impact of proposed pumping from current permit applications on the Simsboro Aquifer.  Draw-down, measured in feet, is indicated on the contour lines of the maps below.