LCRA permit now pending with Lost Pines’ Board

Administrative Law Judges Rebecca S. Smith (right) and Ross Henderson (left) presiding over the contested case hearing on LCRA’s groundwater application.

The Administrative Law Judges recently issued a reply to exceptions filed by the parties clearing the way for a final decision on LCRA’s groundwater permit application. The reply includes some changes to the original Proposal for Decision (PFD). With these changes — which preserve Environmental Stewardship’s win on surface water issues — the District’s Board of Directors now have the guidance they requested and can take final action on LCRA’s pending permit application. 

Environmental Stewardship scores partial victory

Hearing on LCRA’s application for a groundwater pumping permit held before SOHA Judges in October, 2019.

We are pleased and grateful to claim a partial victory in the contested case hearing on LCRA’s application for a groundwater pumping permit.   The judges have issued a Proposal for Decision (PFD) that includes the recommendation that surface water monitoring must be done by LCRA as a part of the permit.  See the attached press release and summary of the key findings as they relate to surface waters.   

Environmental Stewardship provides scientific information on local environmental impacts

Environmental Stewardship provides scientific information on impacts on the Colorado River, aquifer formations, and exempt domestic wells. Groundwater pumping in the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer group affects the Colorado River and its tributaries, the Carrizo, Calvert Bluff and Hooper formations, other aquifers, and landowners’ domestic wells.   Environmental Stewardship has been working with George…

Mark your calendars: Hearing on LCRA’s Application for Ground Water Permit

Mark your calendar:  Hearing on LCRA’s Application for Groundwater Permit. October 15-18 and 21-22 at 10:00AM, Bastrop Convention Center, Bastrop, Texas. We’ve been busy preparing for the Contested Case Hearing on LCRA’s application to pump 25,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year from Bastrop County. Yes, we have been missing in your inbox for months now…

LCRA Prehearing Conference on Party Status

Environmental Stewardship and Landowners admitted as Parties

Protestants admitted as parties to LCRA Contested Case Hearing at December 19th Prehearing Conference.

A hearing to determine party status of 127 individuals and organizations protesting LCRA’s application for a permit to pump groundwater from Bastrop County was held on December 19, 2018. The hearing was ordered by State Office of Administrative Hearing Law Judges (ALJs) Michael J. O’Malley and Laura M. Valdez.

Environmental Stewardship and a group of 43 landowners were admitted as parties to the contested case hearing to be held next fall.  Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, Aqua Water Supply Corporation, City of Elgin, and Recharge Water, LP, along with 12 unrepresented landowners were also admitted.  To ensure that all parties have a justiciable interest, each entity and individual is required to file an affidavit no later than February 9, 2019 (Order 2).  Any objections to party status must be filed no later than February 19, 2019.

Judge Hears Arguments on Landowners’ Right to Protest Groundwater Export, Ruling to Come

BASTROP – A state district judge in Bastrop on Wednesday heard arguments for and against the contention that four landowners are entitled to a new hearing because they were wrongfully excluded by the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District from participating in a 2013 administrative hearing.

The 2013 hearing resulted in a permit  to water marketer End-Op LP (now known as Recharge Water) that allows massive amounts of groundwater to be pumped and exported from Lee and Bastrop counties. The Oct. 18 hearing was part of a legal challenge to that permit.

Judge Carson Campbell ruled in favor of the landowners from the bench Wednesday on the question of whether he even has the authority to review the District’s decision to exclude them. A ruling on the landowners’ right to protest the permit is pending from Judge Campbell.

ES becomes a Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate

Environmental Stewardship became a Waterkeeper Affiliate organization on September 23, 2016. As a new Waterkeeper Affiliate, Environmental Stewardship works to protect and preserve the Texas Colorado River, associated aquifers, and the bays and estuaries of the Texas Gulf Coast by combining its first-hand knowledge of the waterway with an unwavering commitment to the rights of the community, to ecological health of waterways and aquifers, and to the rule of law.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Steve Box in Austin, TX.

“Waterkeeper Alliance is thrilled to have Steve Box, Executive Director, to be the eyes, ears, and voice for this vital watershed and community,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Every community deserves to have swimmable, drinkable, fishable and flowing water, and Mr. Box is the right leader to fight to protect the surface water and groundwater supplies in the Colorado River basin.”
For more information on see our webpage ES’ Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliation.  

Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF)

New Group Launches Fight To Protect Local Groundwater and Aquifers

BastropCoCourthouse2

Bastrop County Court House

ELGIN – Veterans of a long-standing fight to protect the area’s groundwater have joined forces and launched a new organization to help lead that effort.

The new group, the Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund (SAWDF), includes volunteers from the League of Independent Voters, Environmental Stewardship, Sierra Club and Neighbors for Neighbors.

SEE END OF THIS POST FOR LINKS TO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SAWDF response to Bastrop Advertiser’s misleading article on July 21, 2016.

Environmental Stewardship Celebrates a Water Achievement in the Central Texas

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  gma_12issues 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.  …

LCRA Water Management Plan in final review at TCEQ

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.