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.
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)
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.
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. …
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.…
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.
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. …
The 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. …
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.
This is INSANE. Lost Pines GCD is on the verge of permitting five and a half (5.6) times more water from the Simsboro aquifer than is available. The total amount of Modeled Available Groundwater (MAG) from the Simsboro Aquifer by 2010 is 29,556 acre-feet/year per the Lost Pines Management Plan. Lost Pines is currently considering permit applications for 119,199 acre-feet/yr which is 4 times more water than is available for pumping. Adding the current 45,365 acre-feet/year already permitted brings the total to 164,884 acre-feet/yr which is 5.6 times the amount of water currently available (without considering Environmental Stewardship’s ecological concerns). So far, the General Manager has recommended approval of ALL the applications that have been presented to the Board of Directors. See Permit Concerns for copies of GM Recommendations.
LOST PINES GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
will VOTE on the following applications at their next Board Meeting
Heart of Texas Suppliers, LP
Lower Colorado River Authority
Forestar (USA) Real Estate Group, Inc.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013,
Regular Board Meeting 6:00 P.M.
Giddings City Hall, 118 East Richmond St., Giddings, TX 78942
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS LOST PINES GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT will hold a public hearing and vote on the following applications End Op , LP Manville WSC
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013
Hearing 7:00 P.M.
Giddings City Hall, 118 East Richmond St., Giddings, TX 78942