Posts Tagged ‘Water’

We actually DO WANT a special session on Water! Bastrop/Lee Flier, print & share please.

You are receiving lots of emails from us — only because the legislative session is in its final days (May 27th is the last day) AND we have a strategically important TEST CASE on groundwater protection in Bastrop & Lee Counties coming to a head NEXT WEDNESDAY.  Be sure to share the flier below this message.

Here’s what you need to know and do now!

1.  Write a letter to the editor of your local paper(s) and tell them the Governor’s threat to hold a Special Session on water is the best news you’ve heard all session.  Maybe, just maybe, the voice of the people to protect Texas aquifers (and the precious agricultural land over them) can creep into a very focused 30 day session!

2.  If you live in central Texas, come to next Wednesday’s contested case hearing at 5 pm at the Bastrop Convention Center.  Print out the flyer below and pass it out or post it around the Bastrop & Lee county area.  We’re calling out the troops to this meeting!  Everyone needs to be there at 5 pm and plan to stay for at least through 7 or 8 pm, likely!!!  (More details forthcoming).  To prepare yourself read these two pieces on the Environmental Stewardship website here and here, if you missed last night’s meeting in Elgin.

3.  Call your State Senator after you read this Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Update on Animal ID — whether you farm, ranch, own pets or just like your food local.  Make your calls now!

Got questions?  Send an email to ljcurtis@indytexans.org or call us at 512-535-0989.

Y’all come next Wednesday, ya hear?!

Print this Flier of Lost Pines Hearing 5-15!

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Vote NO! HB 3234!

This bill comes up on the House floor TODAY, so if you get this in time, call your Texas House member and tell them to vote NO on HB 3234 (details below).

We’re going to see lots of last minute bad stuff coming between now and the last day of the session, May 27th, so do what you can.

BASTROP/LEE COUNTY Reminder:  Meeting this Wednesday, 6 pm at Elgin First National Bank, 1312 US 290 –  map here.  We will prepare you for the May 15th hearing on pending groundwater permits AND show you some maps received in response to a public information request by Environmental Stewardship.  Please come~!

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OPPOSE HB 3234 – Changes to Water Rights Permitting – On House Floor MONDAY

Background on the Water Rights Permitting Process:

Under Texas law surface water belongs to the people and is held in trust for them by the state. Those entities or individuals who want to use surface water must apply to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for the right to use that water for anything other than livestock or domestic use. TCEQ must consider a number of factors before granting a water right, including the following, among other factors:
·      Whether there is unallocated water available in the stream on a dependable basis to accommodate additional water use
·      Whether the water rights application is for a “beneficial use”
·      What the impacts of the water use would be on water quality, wildlife habitat, instream uses, downstream water rights, and – where appropriate – freshwater inflows to bays and estuaries, among other factors
·      Whether the applicant has prepared and/or implemented a water conservation plan.

The administrative review and especially technical review of the water rights permit application takes considerable time, effort, and resources on behalf of TCEQ – especially in the case of complex water rights applications such as the multi-volume Brazos River Authority’s “systems operations” permit application.

The public is supposed to be notified when a permit application is determined by TCEQ to be “administratively complete” and then again after the technical review when and if TCEQ issues a draft permit. Persons “affected” by the proposed water rights permit – such as landowners whose land might be inundated by a proposed water reservoir associated with the permit – may request a contested case hearing on the permit. TCEQ may deny the requests for a contested case hearing and issue the permit.

If TCEQ grants the request for a contested case hearing, the matter is referred to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) for a hearing, and other affected parties or parties whose requests were denied by TCEQ may seek to participate in the hearing, if the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) admits them as parties. After the contested case hearing is concluded, the ALJ will make a proposal for decision by TCEQ. TCEQ makes the ultimate decision and may issue the permit, even when the ALJ recommends denial of the permit.

At whatever point TCEQ issues a water rights permit, that decision may be appealed to state court. Denial of a request for contested case hearing is also appealable to state court if the permit is issued. The courts have overturned TCEQ denial of party status and contested cases for different permits issued by the agency. But the courts give considerable discretion to the agency in decisions about the issuance of a permit. TCEQ rarely denies applications for water rights permits, but permits are often improved as a result of TCEQ and public scrutiny of the permit applications.
CSHB 3234 – This proposed legislation:

·      sets deadlines for TCEQ’s processing of water rights permit applications
·      limits the issues that may be referred to SOAH for consideration in a contested case hearing on a draft permit,
·      prohibits the ALJ from admitting as parties to the contested case hearing any persons or organizations who did not make a request to TCEQ for a contested case,
·      prohibits parties in a contested case hearing from raising any issues they did not raise earlier, and
·      sets limits on the length of time for conducting the contested case hearing.

What’s Wrong with CSHB 3234 – This legislation:

·      sets unrealistic deadlines for TCEQ’s processing of water rights permit applications – especially complex multi-volume permit applications – requiring in essence that TCEQ complete its review and issue a draft permit within 300 days (with some flexibility for additional time if more information needs to be requested from and provided by the permit applicant)
·      puts TCEQ and the public at a disadvantage in reviewing a permit application – while the applicant may have spent years preparing an application the agency and the public are expected to review it thoroughly within a few months
·      makes it difficult to adequately review the impacts of a proposed water rights permit on water quality, wildlife habitat, instream uses, downstream water rights, freshwater inflows, and other concerns
·      ignores any staffing and resource constraints at TCEQ in expediting permit applications
·      unduly limits the issues that may be considered in a contested case hearing on a permit
·      puts inappropriate limitations on an ALJ’s authority to admit persons affected by the proposed permit as parties to a contested case hearing on the permit – if a landowner affected by the permit was not properly notified of the application or the draft permit, for example, the ALJ would not have the authority to admit that person as a party to the hearing because they had not earlier requested that TCEQ grant such a hearing
·      unrealistically limits the time period for the contested case hearing process to nine months – naming of parties, setting a schedule for the process, researching the issues, deposing witnesses and doing other “discovery,” briefing the issues, conducting the physical hearing, replying to briefs, reviewing the evidence, and issuing a proposal for decision would all have to occur within nine months, leading to a rushed and unfair process that is again all to the advantage of the applicant and to the disadvantage of affected persons such as landowners contesting the permit
·      is not the result of a stakeholder process involving diverse interests but reflects only the interests of attorneys for a few permit applicants who requested this legislation, and thus ignores the interests of potentially affected persons such as landowners and anglers, who might be harmed by the issuance of a water rights permit

Prepared and distributed by the Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club. For more information: kenwkramer@aol.com

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Plan now dudes in the legislature!

Just moments ago a bad bill on eminent domain and pipelines was pulled on a point of order in the House. Nice!

ON THE WATER FRONT: 

Read this piece in the Austin-American Statesman, then call or contact your legislators and ask them to stand tall on this issue.  Legislators can focus on conserving water first!  For pennies on the dollar, fixing leaky pipes and getting everyone — the municipalities and large agricultural entities, in particular — to conserve, must be done now.  Do not spend tax dollars on building pipelines to drain rural Texas dry, potentially doing great harm to our aquifers and landowners.  And for the small towns that need help, our understanding is that there are low interest loans available to them already.  If someone tells you differently, we’d like to hear what they have to say.  The bottom line is that building costly infrastructure won’t make it rain.  It doesn’t appear we’re going to get much of that over the next few years, until the lege meets again.

Plan now dudes in the legislature!  More soon…

Latest Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Legislative Update is here.

BASTROP & LEE COUNTY MEETING REMINDER!
Wednesday, May 8th, 6 pm
First National Bank in Elgin
1312 Highway 290 map here

This meeting is to prepare you for the May 15th, 5 pm hearing of the
Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District at the Bastrop Convention Center.

Hope to see you Bastrop and Lee County folks next Wednesday!

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Urgent Message for Lee and Bastrop County Residents!

Two important items for protection our groundwater require your participation!

Lee County Reminder this Monday night, April 8, 6 pm, Giddings Library! Flier attached here. Independent Texans and Environmental Stewardship will prepare you information for the CRITICAL Lost Pines Groundwater District Hearing on the 17th.  Spread the word, please!  You can also call or email your county commissioners here and Judge Fischer here.

Bastrop County please come to the Bastrop County Commissioner’s Court, also this Monday, at 9 am!  Judge Paul Pape and members of the Commissioners Court want to help protect our groundwater by passing the following resolution click here.  Please come at 9 am sharp, feel free to speak, and if you can’t make it, please call or send a message now to your commissioners here and Judge Pape here.  Thank them!

All Bastrop & Lee counties residents — remember we share the same districts covered by the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District.  We all need to be in Giddings on Wednesday, April 17th, 6 pm at Giddings City Hall.

IF Lost Pines GCD approves approximately 120,000 acre-feet in permit requests (107,000,000 million gallons per day), this is bad news for everyone but water profiteers and their friends.  Therefore, invite all your friends from Travis, Williamson, Hays and Bexar counties, set to receive these exports and include neighbors in Milam and Burleson counties whose groundwater district (Post Oak Savannah) is already over-pumping the same groundwater!

Most people we know want more serious conservation and protection of our aquifers.  This unites us all — regardless of party and ideology.

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Red Alert: Take a Stand, Two Meetings – BE THERE!

We all know that water profiteers have had their eyes on the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, underlying Bastrop and Lee counties, for some time now. (Make sure you’ve read our media release here.)

Last week the Texas House passed HB 4, lining up $2B from the Rainy Day Fund to fund pipelines to move water around the state, despite the House analysis stating that not enough money was allocated to conservation!  (More soon on this topic.)

Please come to these two urgently important meetings — the Independent Texans strategy meeting in Giddings on Monday, April 8th, 6 pm, Giddings Library (map here) — AND the hearing in Giddings on Wednesday, April 17th, 6 pm, Giddings City Hall (map here) — bring a lawn chair! 

Click on and Share this flier about these meetings.

Your Action Plan:  1.  Come to both meetings/invite your neighbors, 2.  Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, including the Austin American-Statesman, 3.  Spread the word!

Please share the flier or use the share button on this site and share through Facebook/social networking.  If you want hard copies of the flier below, call us at 512-535-0989.

We also need volunteers — call us!

Independent Texans will lay out for you, at the April 8th meeting, a number of options for fighting this.  Therefore, this meeting is critical to success on the 17th.

As we have said, we all need water.  Robbing Peter to pay Paul is madness.

Please watch your emails for more this week.  If you do not receive our emails, click on the link just before our logo on the top right hand side of this page and sign up.

Thank you Texas!

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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:

[signature]

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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