Our Case is Strong

Having filed supplemental testimonies of George Rice and Joe Trungale, moved to strike the LCRA’s prefiled testimonies of Brian Cook and Leonard Oliver, and responded to LCRA’s objections and attempt to strike the testimony of George Rice and Joe Trungale — our case is strong.

Impact of LCRA’s requested groundwater pumping on the Colorado River

On September 27th, after months of work, a new pumping file that will be used to adopt new desired future conditions finally became available.  The new pumping file was prepared by Groundwater Management Area 12’s consultants to enable use of the new groundwater availability model (New GAM) in evaluating and adopting updated desired future conditions for the five GMA-12 groundwater conservation districts, including the Lost Pines and Post Oak Savannah Districts.   With this new pumping file, that includes Forestar, Recharge Water (formerly End Op), LCRA’s power plant, and Vista Ridge permitted pumping, Environmental Stewardship was able to use the New GAM to predict the full impact of groundwater pumping from the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer Group on the Colorado River and its tributaries — Walnut/Cedar Creeks,  Wilbarger Creek, Big Sandy Creek, and Piney Creek/Lake Bastrop.  In addition, we were able to evaluate and predict the impacts of LCRA’s requested pumping. To date, this is the most current use of best science to be presented in the contested case hearing on LCRA’s groundwater application. (click on the graph for larger view).

Prehearing Conference and orders leading to Party Status

Landowner protestants admitted as parties to the LCRA contested case hearing at the December 19, 2018 preliminary hearing.

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 (Order 1) 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.  , along with 12 unrepresented landowners were also admitted.  To ensure that all parties have a justiciable interest, each entity and individual was required to file an affidavit no later than February 9, 2019 (Order 2).  Based on these affidiavits Environmental Stewardship, Grissom Landowners, Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, Aqua Water Supply Corporation, City of Elgin, and Recharge Water, LP were admitted as parties (Order 5). A number of landowners who do not own wells were denied party status.

A hearing on merits will be held on October 15-22, 2019, in Bastrop, Texas. A schedule of deadlines —  concerning discovery, expert witnesses, prefiling of testimony, rebuttal, depositions, and responses to objections — was issued by SOAH (Order 3).  After the hearing on merits, the ALJ’s will send a proposed decision to the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors for a final decision on the LCRA’s application.

We are very grateful to the Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation, the Trull Foundation, Environmental Fund of Texas, First National Bank of Bastrop, and the many individual that have made grants and donations to Environmental Stewardship to support this effort.  However, we do not yet have the funds to follow this action through to completion.

The stage is set … but we need your help!

So the stage is set for Environmental Stewardship and the Landowner Group, along with the other protestants, to argue their case opposing the LCRA’s application in a contested case hearing before ALJs O’Malley and Valdez next fall. Much legal and technical work has been done leading up to the hearing in October, 2019.  We have prepared a strong and convincing case for the protection of the Colorado River, the environment, communities, and landowner property interests.

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Hearing documents and orders:  

All hearing documents not found below can be found at the SOAH website. Click the button “Public Case File Search” and then put in the case number 952-19-0705.  We have concentrated on the scientific testimony in the documents listed below.  

Environmental Stewardship:

Request for Contested Case Hearing (September 19, 2018)

Response in support of General Manager’s motion to establish process regarding party status (December 17, 2018)

Pre-filed Direct Testimony of George Rice on behalf of Environmental Stewardship (June 28, 2019)

Pre-filed Direct Testimony of Joe Trungale on behalf of Environmental Stewardship (June 28, 2019)

Objections and Motion to Strike LCRA’s Prefiled Rebuttal Testimony and Exhibits (September 27, 2019)

Motion to Leave to Supplement Prefiled Testimony and Exhibits (October 4, 2019)

Responses to LCRA’s Objections and Motion to Strike Testimony (October 4, 2019)

Reply to Response to Motion for Leave to Supplement profiled Testimony and Exhibits (October 11, 2019)

Grissom Landowner Group:

Unopposed Request for Party Status (December 17, 2018)

First Amended Unopposed Request for Party Status (December 18, 2018)

Pre-filed Direct Testimony of Keith Copeland on behalf of Grissom Landowners

Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District – General Manager:

Motion to establish process regarding Party Status (December 14, 2018)

Pre-filed Direct Testimony of James Totten

Pre-filed Direct Testimony of Dr. William R. Hutchison

Lower Colorado River Authority:

Pre-filed Direct Testimony of Steve Young

Pre-filed Direct Testimony of Van Kelly

Other Protestants:

 

Administrative Law Judge Orders:

Order 1 – Scheduling Prehearing Conference on Party Status (November 16, 2018)

Order 2 – Memorializing Prehearing Conference Addressing Party Status (December 21, 2018)

Order 3 – Hearing Schedule

Order 5 – Parties admitted to participate in hearing