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 issues 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. Continue reading →
The Honorable Carson Campbell of the 21st Judicial District Court of Bastrop County will hold a hearing on End Op, LP’s “request for declaratory judgment on lack of jurisdiction.” (See background below). The hearing will be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at the Bastrop County Court House, 804, Pecan Street, Bastrop, TX 78602. The public is invited to attend. Landowner attorneys will argue before the judge for dismissal of the request.
That’s a lot of legalese. Basically, End Op is attempting to throw a stick in our spokes and derail our appeal in state court to gain “party status”. This is End Op’s ongoing attempt to deny local landowners their due process rights to oppose End Op’s permit application to export 46,000 ac-ft/yr (almost 15 billion gallons) of groundwater from Bastrop and Lee counties to feed the thirst of the I-35/TX-130 growth corridor. End Op has yet to find customers for that water after years of hustling.
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.
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. Continue reading →
Lawyers for Environmental Stewardship and Landowners will make oral arguments before the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors on August 13, 7:00 p.m. at the Bastrop Convention Center. ES and Landowners are requesting that the decision by the ALJ to deny party status be reversed and remanded back to SOAH for contested case hearing.
The public is encouraged to attend. Though public comments will not be heard, the face of the people needs to be seen. This is a very important hearing about your rights to defend your interests in the groundwater beneath your land.
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.
In a reversal, Forestar’s Request forRehearing was GRANTED in a Special CalledBoard 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.