An Open Letter to Lost Pines Board of Directors

An Open Letter to the
Lost Pines GCD Board of Directors from its Constituents
STAND STRONG!

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 Appeal “Party Stutus”

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

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.  

ES Urges Board to Stay the Course

We have a simple message to deliver to the Lost Pines Board tonight:

“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.   …

Forestar Moves to Sue Groundwater District

Big Money (Forestar) rolls out big guns (Lawyers) to intimidate guardians (Lost Pines GCD Board) into capitulating (giving them what the want) rather than protecting our groundwater resources. We need your help to let the Board know that they are doing the right thing in protecting our groundwater and WE HAVE THEIR BACK. Ask them to please “stand tall and stay the course”.

Plan to attend the July 17, 2013, meeting of the Lost Pines GCD Board at 7:00 pm at Bastrop City Hall, 1311 Chestunt Street, Bastrop, TX. We will be providing more information about this meeting and what you can do to support the Board.…

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.

Will Lost Pines GCD Follow or Skirt the Law in their Permitting Process?

 As Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District moves back into groundwater permitting, Environmental Stewardship is once again concerned about the impact of groundwater pumping on the aquifers, surface waters, and water permit holders (both groundwater and surface water). Secondarily, we will watch with interest to see how Lost Pines handles the many well permits that were…