Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Stewardship’

Wednesday’s Water Hearing – y’all come and bring some!

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 7.46.09 PMLost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Holds Hearing on End Op, L.P. Permit Demand for 46,000 acre-feet of groundwater from the Simsboro
Wednesday, June 15, 7 pm
Bastrop City Hall, 1311 Chestnut, Bastrop, Texas

►It’s been 3 years since End Op, L.P. filed its permit demand for 56,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year for 5 years. Meanwhile, the 50,000 acre-feet, 20 year permit demand for Vista Ridge (the San Antone Hose) and the Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group permit for 28,500 acre-feet per year have overshadowed the End Op permit.

All three permits threaten the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer underlying Lee, Bastrop, Milam and Burleson counties and constitute only half of the new demands coming after Simsboro water.

Conclusion:  The siege on the Simsboro is all too real and we better get ready.

A little background:  Three years ago Aqua Water Supply

Legal Team and Landowners fighting for a seat at the table on the End Op Permit

Legal Team and Landowners fighting for a seat at the table on the End Op Permit

Corporation contested the End Op permit and so did four landowners (Betz Brown, Darwyn Hanna, Andy Meyer and Environmental Stewardship). Lost Pines punted this dispute to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). The SOAH judge granted Aqua Water party status, a seat at the table to contest and negotiate the permit. Landowners were denied a seat. That denial went back to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District board and they too supported keeping the landowners out.

What happened at the SOAH hearings: It was poorly argued by the Lost Pines District lawyers. They botched the witness testimony after Aqua Water settled in advance of the hearing. Aqua simply defended their ratepayers resulting in a small reduction of the permit to 46,000 acre-feet. Aqua received $15 million to cover the costs of digging deeper wells. Landowners were hung out to dry with a token “mitigation agreement” thrown into the Aqua settlement for propaganda purposes. End Op got an unexamined hearing record that loaded the deck in favor of its massive demand.

Friends across the Simsboro — this is why landowners have a case in District Court disputing their denial of party status and are awaiting a decision by the Lost Pines GCD on the End Op permit. We told you to get ready, didn’t we?

The timeline: Lost Pines GCD will hear public testimony and take no action, but they will likely set a date soon to take action on the End Op permit. We assume Lost Pines will give End Op a permit. For how much and under what circumstances is the question. Will they do the science that will be asked of them to protect the aquifer? Will Lost Pines reverse course on their current tact to shut landowners out and make a clear move to protect our property rights and Simsboro communities own water futures? And there are plenty more questions likely to be asked of the courts.

Click here for Environmental Stewardship’s concerns about the science.

Landowners are fully expected to be in court soon. We ask you to support them. Their fight is our fight.

See you tomorrow night.

P.S. Bring your checkbooks for the legal fund and join us at La Hacienda following the hearing.

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Lost Pines Aquifer Protectors Heard

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)

Folks, yesterday’s hearing to determine whether landowners seeking party status (a voice) in the fight between Aqua Water Supply and EndOp, over EndOp’s 56,000-acre feet/year permit application for water from the Simsboro aquifer formation beneath us, was both fascinating and telling.  EndOp attorneys, Russell Johnson (notorious gun-for-hire by the water speculators) and Stacy Reese, held us up ALL DAY with a “throw the kitchen sink” strategy in seeming attempt to rattle landowners.  It didn’t work.

EndOp’s barrage of questions and miles of paperwork sought to narrow the parameters to granting party status to no one.

We won’t even try to guess how the Judge (Michael O’Malley) is going to rule.  He stated that he hoped to rule  by mid-September.  He also guessed that the full hearing between Aqua Water and EndOp (hopefully to include those seeking party status) will likely be sometime in February.  Once that hearing is held, SOAH will make a recommendation to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.  It will be up to the Lost Pines GCD to decide whether to adopt the recommendation, reject it, or alter it.

We’ll let you know what happens — but make sure you get set to come to the first Independent Texans’ convention ever.  It will be held at the Bastrop Convention Center on Saturday, September 21.  Look for details in another article on this blog.

Stay tuned y’all!

PS  A little birdie told us that Russ Johnson charges $450 per hour.  With all that paper work, we can’t imagine what EndOp paid for the attempted robbery — robbing landowners and their heirs of what is rightfully their land and the water beneath them.

Comments and questions below are welcome!

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Don’t miss Monday’s hearing with EndOp; Forestar Files Motion for Rehearing (no surprise there..)

REMINDER:  Preliminary Hearing this coming Monday, August 12, 10 am at the Bastrop Convention Center.

PLEASE NOTE:  This is not a hearing at which the community is invited to speak.  This is a hearing before a Judge with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, who will determine whether landowners, including Environmental Stewardship, should be granted “party status” (the right to have a voice) in the challenge that Aqua Water Supply Coop has filed against EndOp and their permit request for 56,000 acre-feet per year.  Please come!

ALSO PLEASE NOTE:   Just as we expected, Forestar Real Estate Group, has filed for a rehearing with the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.  Folks, this is something they must do in order to be in a position to sue the Lost Pines GCD.  It’s apparent that the Lost Pines GCD is sticking to its guns with their decision made last May to grant them 12,000 acre-feet per year (not 45,000) of groundwater from the Simsboro.  But these water speculators are just not satisfied — so they call us “NIMBY” in their Motion for Rehearing, page 8 (towards the bottom).

Click here to readForestar Real Estate Group’s Motion for Rehearing

It is residents and landowners’ positions in Lee County, where Forestar wants to sink its wells (in part, on property owned by our own State Representative, Tim Kleinschmidt), who ARE indeed looking out for their neighbors.  Call them all the names you want, Forestar.  It’s game on!

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Conserve First, Move Water Later Scores HUGE Victory!

Folks, we were so stunned last night by the stand of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District to ratchet back permits for groundwater from the Simsboro Aquifer, it took us a few minutes to realize what a HUGE victory it was!

Click here to read Environmental Stewardship’s cogent analysis of the Board’s truly courageous stand last night.

We also are making regional news!  Here’s a radio report from Statewide Impact News.

The Legislature’s efforts to try to carve a deal for water, education and transportation funding is such high stakes, we have no idea what they’re really doing in committee.  Will they put something on the ballot in November?  They’re trying not to.  We just have to see.

One thing we do know, for sure, is this.  If water marketers continue to try to raid the aquifers of Texas, Texans now have a model for how to respond — just like they did in Bastrop and Lee counties.  We know the marketers (and their friends in political office) are not going to go just go away.  So get ready for Round #2.

Let us know if you want to build the independent movement where you are and we’ll try to make it happen.

More coming soon on what the legislature hands us before sine die — that’s the last day of the session, on May 27th.

Best wishes to you all!

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Lost Pines Groundwater District Stunned Us – THANK YOU!

Folks, we were so stunned last night by the stand of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District to ratchet back two of the three permits for groundwater from the Simsboro Aquifer, it took us a few minutes to realize what a HUGE victory it was!

Click here to read Environmental Stewardship’s cogent analysis of the Board’s truly courageous stand last night.

Please get a note to the Lost Pines Board and to our two County Judges below and give them a BIG THANK YOU!  Let them know that if Forestar Real Estate Group even so much as thinks about suing OUR groundwater district, you will help us raise the funds to turn this into a landmark case for the people of Texas!

Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Board
Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape
Lee County Judge Paul Fischer

We also are making regional news!  Here’s a radio report from Statewide Impact News.  YNN Austin TV News continues their extensive coverage and the Austin American-Statesman (Asher Price) attended last night’s meeting.  If water marketers continue to try to raid the Simsboro Aquifer, we WILL fight back and this might just get us a real chance to win new rounds beyond our water district.

More coming soon.  Yahoo y’all — get some rest for the next round!

Independently yours,

Linda Curtis
Independent Texans

PS  Despite being in a recent car accident, Lee County Judge Fischer was present last night, so we especially appreciate him and wish him the best!

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Austin is Not Developers’ Monopoly Board

Sign it, if you live in Austin

Austin is Not Developers' Monopoly Board

Dear Mayor Adler and Austin City Council Members:

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Why don't you share this with your friends, please:

Make Growth Pay for Itself

No Vista Ridge/San Antone Hose

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