Posts Tagged ‘Water’

East Texas Citizen Hearings: Eminent Domain, Public Safety and Protection of Waterways

If you live in East Texas, pay close attention and if you know folks who live there, send them this message posted here.

Citizens in 6 cities (Cleveland, Big Sandy, Fairfield, Bryan-College Station, Tyler and Beaumont) are holding their own hearings in East Texas — starting on Tuesday!  See below.

A national CBS News report last Tuesday exposed the faulty construction problems identified months ago by East Texas landowners with the Keystone XL pipeline. Keystone XL (owned by TransCanada) is slated to start any day now pushing toxic diluted bitumen (aka tar sands) over hundreds of waterways and across the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer that serves 10-12 million people:

Click here to watch this CBS News report. 

An in-depth Special Report of Keystone XL’s problem was released by Public Citizen click here.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus were warned about the problems by a cross-partisan coalition (in this letter from Debra Medina, Julia Trigg Crawford and Jim Hightower) last June. They were asked to do an interim study and public hearings. The Lt. Governor’s office said he was “too busy” and Speaker Straus has been mute.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!  Independent Texans will hold a meeting on Monday, December 2nd, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Paige Community Center at 107 S. Main (at 290) in Paige, Texas.. We have some important updates to share on the water front and this meeting is just one week from the filing deadline for candidates to run in 2014. Please come!

We can change election outcomes next November if we organize now, folks! 

The hearings below are being sponsored by a new non-profit independent organization called the League of Independent Voter of Texas. We’ll tell you more about it real soon!

  • Tues., Nov. 19th, 6:30-8:30 pm, Cleveland, TX, Beulah Land Baptist Church (Rev. Aubrey Vaughan is host), 464 County Road 2184. Speakers:  Debra Medina (We Texans), Jim Williams (Public Citizen), Linda Curtis as facilitator (League of Independent Voters).  Relevant pipelines: Keystone XL & Pegasus.
  • Wed., Nov. 20, 6:30-8:30 pm, Big Sandy, TX, Big Sandy Community Center, 207 Gilmer Street, Big Sandy. Speakers:  Julia Trigg Crawford (Lamar County farmer), Jessica Ellison (local family farm), Emily Harris (Mayflower, AR first responder by video or in person), Linda Curtis (facilitator).
  • Thurs., Nov. 21, 7:00-9:00 pm, Fairfield, TX, VFW Hall, 198 VFW Road, Fairfield, TX.  Speakers:  Medina, Smitty and Harris (in person or video), Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipelines: Pegasus and Seaway.
  • Tues., Dec. 3, 6:30-8:30 pm, Bryan-College Station TX, Best Western Premier Old Town Center, 1920 Austins Colony Pkwy, Bryan, TX, Speakers:  Smitty (Public Citizen), Harris (video or in person), Kathleen Hubbard (Brazos River Bottom Alliance), Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipeline & issues:  Seaway & railway station in Brazos Valley. Additional speakers likely.
  • Wed., Dec. 4, 6:30-8:30 pm, Tyler, TX Rose Garden Center, 420 Rose Park Drive, Tyler, TX.  Speakers:  Calvin Tilman, Smitty (Public Citizen), Curtis, facilitator.  Additional speakers likely. Relevant pipelines:  Keystone XL, Pegasus.
  • Thurs., Dec. 5, 6:30-8:30 pm, Beaumont, TX, Knights of Columbus Hall, 9505 College, Beaumont, TX.  Speakers:  Smitty (Public Citizen), Isom Ramsey (local resident), Mike Hathorn, Cherokee County landowner, Linda Curtis, facilitator. Relevant pipelines: Pegasus, Seaway, CrossTex (eminent domain abuse). Additional speakers likely.

These hearings are sponsored by a new non-profit organization — the League of Independent Voters of Texas
PO Box 651 * Bastrop, TX 78602 * 512-213-4511



Media Advisory: Monday, June 17th, 3 pm Media Conference

Contacts:  Debra Medina, We Texans, 512.663.8401, Linda Curtis or Jessica Ellison, Independent Texans, 512.657.2089 and 512.653.9179, Julia Trigg Crawford, 713.443.8789, Laura Ehrlich, Jim Hightower & Associates, 512.477-5588

Cross-Partisan Coalition Calls on Lt. Governor and House Speaker for Interim Study and Full Public Hearings on Eminent Domain Abuse Starting in East Texas, to include Public Safety Concerns Related to Potential Water Threats from Tar Sands Crude and Hydraulic Fracking

WHAT:  An unlikely coalition of leaders from across the partisan divide are starting a door knocking campaign to urge Lt. Governor Dewhurst and House Speaker Straus to call for an Interim Study on Eminent Domain Abuse following the close of the current Special Session.  Rumors abound that the Governor will call yet another Special Session in July, this one with eminent domain on the Call.  This would waste taxpayer dollars as consensus is unlikely because affected Texans have yet to be heard.

WHEN:  Press Conference is on Monday, June 17th at 3 pm, just following door knocking.

WHERE:  Outside the Capitol Grill, Capitol Extension, E1.002 (3 pm)

WHY: We believe a consensus on real eminent domain reform is impossible without FULL PUBLIC HEARINGS in the affected areas of Texas (not Austin).  The Lt. Governor and House Speaker are empowered to call for an Interim Study.  This should begin immediately following this Special Session in the areas where land was seized by TransCanada for the Keystone XL pipeline, before any hearings took place whatsoever.  Hearings that did take place were limited to the parties and excluded critical issues such as the potential harm from a spill over one of the largest Texas aquifers, the Carrizo-Wilcox that serves 10-12 million people and countless farms.  If the aquifer is polluted, the aquifer is dead and so would be Texas farming and our economy.  In addition, these hearings should address hydraulic fracking’s excessive use of potable water in the midst of our severe water shortage.

SPEAKERS:  (and possibly more)

Julia Trigg Crawford, Lamar County farmer

Debra Medina, We Texans

Jim Hightower, former Texas Agriculture Commissioner


Legislature & Lost Pines Coverage Raise the Bar on Water War!

Congratulations for all those involved, especially the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District and the Brown family of Lee County, for standing tall against the water profiteers.  This could turn out to be a landmark fight for Texans, if the marketers keep pushing it, which is likely.

Read today’s Statesman piece, appropriately printed on Memorial Day.

On an even more difficult note, the Legislature has passed $2B to be taken from the Rainy Day Fund for a water bank.  Those funds will, no doubt, be used for pipelines to move groundwater and for reservoirs. One such reservoir that NE Texans have been fighting for years, would flood heritage farmland for more water for Dallas, despite Dallas’ failure, so far, to implement water conservation on par with other major Texas cities.

The good news is that the $2B water deal will be on the November ballot!  So stay tuned for an analysis that will take some time.

I have not yet begun to fight! (John Paul Jones)

How ’bout you?


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!


Letter to Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District: Permit This, Not This

PERMIT THIS NOT BANKRUPTCY-RecycledDear Lost Pines GCD Board of Directors,
(Please forward to Board ASAP)

The coalition of below named organizations have developed what it believes would be a reasonable outcome of your deliberations regarding the groundwater permit applications before you at this time.  We find that the production limits sought by Forestar, End Op, and LCRA applications will harm existing permitted wells, the environment, and are far in excess of the DFC and MAG.  The District has failed to factor in the impact of existing permits, and has failed to reasonably consider MAG.  If granted, these permits will make the DFCs unachievable.We believe that, if permitted at all, individual permit should first be reduced to levels actually supported by the applications and then all permits reduced overall as necessary to an aggregate level that, including existing permits, protect the Adopted Desired Future Conditions. In addition the District needs to factor in the impact of existing permits before issuing any new permits.

Example:  Forestar’s application, based almost entirely on a Letter of Intent with Hays County for 25,000 to 45,000 AFY, due to expire in September 2013, is a perfect example of the overarching common element in the two largest applications.  Specifically, the facts demonstrate the applicants are seeking permits for ill-defined projects, whose end users are moving targets and which seek to satisfy the entire demand for their target areas, despite the potential for other sources of supply.  For example, has Hays County’s supposedly “exclusive” LOI with Forestar  now been replaced with Hays County’s April 2013 Request for Proposals for an Alternative Water Supply?  Might the RFP result in a lower bidder than Forestar?  Is Forestar’s proposal to Hays County for up to 45,000 AFY redundant as far as the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency’s plan to bring water to Kyle, Buda and San Marcos?  These are exactly the questions the Board should be considering in determining, bottom line, whether these permits seek to prematurely tie up our water while they look for the highest bidder.

In summary, if permitted at all, Forestar and End Op qualify for less than 5% of the water they are seeking.

We encourage the Board to keep permitting within conservative limits that allow pumping that can be reasonably expected to achieve the Adopted GMA-12 Desired Future Conditions.  We oppose the water bankruptcy that would result from all permits being approved at the levels requested.  The flyer attached articulates our request.

If you are not yet ready to take the steps necessary to conservatively manage this resource through the permit process, we encourage you to table final decision on these permits until 1) after the Legislative session has been adjourned, and 2) after the final decisions in the contested case hearings.

1.    We are concerned that the strategy for preservation of the DFC whereby the District will reduce permitted withdrawals later after the DFC has been violated, may be well-intended but is unrealistic.  Once the permitted entities have entered into binding contracts for the supply of water it will be extremely difficult for the District to reduce the permitted water as necessary to preserve the DFC.  This strategy is even more imperiled by the Texas Legislature.  The Legislature has made clear that it is willing to consider legislation that would wholly remove the District’s ability to make such reductions in the future.  As such we believe it is unwise for the District to adopt a management strategy that will at best be exceedingly difficult to implement, and relies upon a management tool that the Legislature may remove entirely.

2.      We also believe that the contested case hearing will allow the District to develop a more robust understanding of the facts involved in regulating permits under the laws and regulations of the State of Texas, and that this understanding will enable the District to make a more informed decision on the application after the hearings have been completed.

We do not believe this is the time to engage legal strategies, but rather that it is time to act to conservatively manage our precious groundwater resources as has been the request of our county Judges, Commissioners Courts, many organizations, and the people of Bastrop and Lee counties.  If challenged in court over having taken this path, we will work as diligently to back you as we have to encourage your good stewardship.

Respectfully yours,

Steve Box, Environmental Stewardship
Michele Gangnes, Neighbors for Neighbors
Phil Cook, Lost Pines Sierra Club
Gretchen McCord DeFlorio, Groups United to Advocate Responsible Development (“GUARD”)
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans



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:


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

Make Growth Pay for Itself

No Vista Ridge/San Antone Hose