Archive for December, 2015

Last night’s meeting of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District

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PS When founding Lost Pines Board member Keith Hansberger --- the aquifer's most ardent defender ----made the motion to approve the permit, we knew for sure the settlement was the right move.

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Precedent for groundwater policy could affect all Central Texans

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We are alerting you to the possibility that an important precedent for groundwater policy, affecting all of central Texas, could be set tomorrow night.

TOMORROW (Monday, December 21st), just 4 days before Christmas, a settlement between Forestar Real Estate Group and Lost Pines GCD will be considered.

Come a little early to read more about this, as the details are still in negotiations!

Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Meeting -- come early at 5:30!
6 pm Bastrop City Hall, 1311 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, TX map here

Forestar Real Estate Group is pushing hard to settle its lawsuit against the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District before the end of the year. The good news is that Forestar has agreed to reduce its permit demand to 28,500 acre-feet per year -- down from the full 45,000 AFY. (Remember, they already have a permit for 12,000, and this is included in the 28,500).

Forestar has also agreed to "stair step" this permit with a monitoring regime that could be a positive step forward for managing large permit applications. In any event, it has moved forward what we've been fighting for all these years – a seat at the table for those of us whose primary interests are sustaining the aquifers and supporting private property values of all landowners. This is definitely a step in the right direction for local control of groundwater.

The District’s manager sat down with a group of us and State Rep. John Cyrier in a productive discussion of our comments and forwarded them to the district’s attorneys for further review.

The bad news is that the devil is in the details and a settlement with Forestar may well be just too rushed AND we cannot forget that there are two other mega-permits in play over Simsboro water.

This agreement, in our view, must be considered fully within the context that End Op continues to push for 46,000 AFY in the Lost Pines District and the 800-pound (50,000 AFY) gorilla, Vista Ridge, just over the Lee County line in Burleson and Milam counties, are very much in play.

Rep. John Cyrier receives appreciation from LIV's Linda Curtis

Rep. John Cyrier receives appreciation from LIV's Linda Curtis

We'll have some news on Vista Ridge just after New Years on a growing movement across the region to scuttle this dangerous project.

Bottom line for tomorrow night is this. We cannot say exactly what the Lost Pines Board may be voting on OR whether we can support this agreement. That is why YOU need to be there to hear or read our comments and to make your own if so moved. Your presence is also a statement.

We are very grateful that the volunteer team of "water wonks" Steve Box (Environmental Stewardship), Phil Cook and Michele Gangnes (Neighbors for Neighbors and the League) -- together with Rep.Cyrier -- for the many hours they have spent on this in the middle of the holidays.

We gave this plaque of appreciation to Rep. Cyrier at yesterday's Christmas Party. Thanks to those of you who could make it, and we apologize that it was not more festive.

Y'all come!

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All we really want for Christmas

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All we really want for Christmas is to see you this Saturday, from 2-4 pm at christmas tree copyour Christmas Party at The Roadhouse in Paige. We'll be recognizing some folks and we'll have some of those big "I Oppose the Hose" signs as door prizes! Details here.

AND, do mark your calendars to attend the Forestar special settlement meeting on Monday night, December 21st -- details here.)

We wish to THANK Rep. John Cyrier for his letter and Judge Paul Fischer for his letter to the Lost Pines District urging a more open settlement process. Giddings Mayor John Dowell and Bastrop City Councilwoman Kay McAnally also weighed in. Thank you.

A quick take on why we think Forestar Real Estate Group is pushing so hard for settlement only days before Christmas. Maybe it has to do with any uncertainty associated with five expiring Board member terms as of December 31st at Lost Pines. Or it might hae something to do with the 800-pound gorilla on the other side of the Simsboro in Milam and Burleson counties, aka Vista Ridge/The San Antone Hose. And perhaps they want to beat End Op/Recharge's bid for 46,000 acre-feet of Simsboro water to the punch. (By the way, water marketer, Joe Beal's, appointment to the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation Board, be a warning looks like it's going to be game with the water robber barons starting early in 2016.

So, have yourself a feisty little Christmas and show up at the party on Saturday AND at next Monday night's Lost Pines GCD meeting at 6 pm Bastrop City Hall. More coming soon.

Please note that all negotiated settlements are complex. The League is collaborating with Environmental Stewardship and Neighbors for Neighbors to evaluate what this means, so pay close attention before you drink too much eggnog. (ES and NFN have engaged respected San Antonio hydrologist George Rice to help us as he has done with Vista Ridge.)

Happy Holidays, y'all, come see us and hold on to your hats for 2016!

PS Please consider giving a gift of membership in the League to a friend or family member. Thank you!

PPS What are we celebrating? That the League is still standing as bright and tall as this Christmas tree and we're only 2 years+ old.

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We Applaud the Lost Post Pines Groundwater Conservation District!

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We applaud the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District’s decision yesterday to extend the comment period on the proposed settlement with Forestar  Real Estate Group until December 16th.

They have also cancelled their meeting this Wednesday (tomorrow) and have yet to put out a notice of when the District will deliberate on the decision, but we believe the date will be December 21st -- so pencil that in.

Please come to our meeting instead tomorrow night (see more below).

We thank several local officials who quickly responded to our calls to slow this process down in order to fully understand the deal. Please note that neither we, nor any of these officials, have expressed any position on the Forestar deal…yet. We, at the League, are not opposed to it, though at this time we do have concerns so please come out tomorrow night to our (LIV) meeting:

Special Meeting on Proposed Forestar Settlement with Lost Pines -- Open Discussion
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 6:30 – 8 pm
, First National Bank of Bastrop
489 Highway 71 West, Bastrop, TX 78602

We will share our concerns about the Forestar settlement offer and open this up for discussion.

Feel free to bring friends, but please note that water marketers, and their allies, are not welcome at this private meeting.

Are you a local official? You are more than welcome to attend. We will in no way assume that because you are present you are adopting our position and will assume that you are present simply to understand our concerns.

Caldwell Commission Alfredo Muñoz, Mary and Fermin Islas (Chairman of Tejano Democrats of Caldwell County), Lou MacNaughton (EPICC board, Vice Chair of TDCC) and Wayne Lesser (EPICC member) and James Abshier (President of EPICC).

Caldwell Commission Alfredo Muñoz, Mary and Fermin Islas (Chairman of Tejano Democrats of Caldwell County), Lou MacNaughton (EPICC board, Vice Chair of TDCC) and Wayne Lesser (EPICC member) and James Abshier (President of EPICC).

A SPECIAL CONGRATULATORY NOTE!  

In our previous emails, we failed to congratulate EPICC (Environmental Protection in the Interest of Caldwell County) for their victory. We attended their wonderful fundraising event and took this picture. Click here for more details on their “Bump the Dump” victory.

Got questions? Call us or show up tomorrow night!

PS Don’t forget our Christmas Party on Saturday, December 19th, 2 – 4 pm at The Roadhouse in Paige to partake in celebration and to hear exciting announcements! More here.

PPS Our statewide conference calls are on hold for the moment. Keep an eye out in the next email.

 

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Bump the Dump Victory!

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Remember the efforts to "Bump the Dump" in Caldwell County?

Congratulations to the residents and

Caldwell Commission Alfredo Muñoz, Mary and Fermin Islas (Chairman of Tejano Democrats of Caldwell County), Lou MacNaughton (EPICC board, Vice Chair of TDCC) and Wayne Lesser (husband and EPICC member) and James Abshier (President of EPICC).

Caldwell Commission Alfredo Muñoz, Mary and Fermin Islas (Chairman of Tejano Democrats of Caldwell County), Lou MacNaughton (EPICC board, Vice Chair of TDCC) and Wayne Lesser (EPICC member) and James Abshier (President of EPICC).

members of EPICC (Environmental Protection in the Interest of Caldwell County)!

On Monday, November 9th, Caldwell County Commissioner Alfredo Muñoz made a motion that the commissioners end negotiations with landfill company Green Group Holdings over a host agreement. He cited hundreds of calls from concerned citizens who opposed these negotiations and the discrediting facts about the landfill company and its associates discovered in the Waller County case. The motion passed by a 3-1 vote. Now Caldwell County will continue in a joint contested case hearing, along with the citizen-group EPICC, the PCCD water district and local landowners, to be brought to court in April, 2016.

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URGENT: Possible settlement action by Lost Pines

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This urgent message is about the possible settlement action to be taken by the Lost Pines  IMG_1367Groundwater Conservation District at a specially called meeting this coming Wednesday, December 9, at 6 pm at Bastrop City Hall.  The action is a settlement with Forestar Real Estate Group to replace Forestar’s permit to export 12,000 acre-feet of water annually from the Simsboro aquifer in Lee County. Forestar could be permitted for up to 28,500 acre-feet per year under the settlement.

Public comments are supposed to be in writing no later than tomorrow (Monday) at 5 pm -- and that's just too soon! No oral comments will be taken at the meeting.

At this time, we have no position on the settlement because it's complicated (read Environmental Stewardship's email blast here for some of the details).

Tomorrow we will at least send a respectful request to the Lost Pines Board to delay action on Wednesday and to open public comment until after the holidays, because:

1.    The notice with documents were released at 4 pm on Wednesday, December 2, with no advance notice a settlement was in the works. Although we appreciate advance notice and opportunity to comment, we are unable to participate in a meaningful way during the holidays in a rushed and complex settlement. There appears to be no legitimate reason for the Board either to act hurriedly or cut off public comment unreasonably.

2.    We believe from feedback so far from officials and local governing bodies (municipalities and county governments) is that they are unaware of what this settlement means, and they too need time to review it.

What can you do?

1.    Click here to send your own email to the Lost Pines GCD Board to respectfully request more time for the public to review the settlement offer, taking us past the holidays. (If that link doesn't work, copy this email address and address it to the Board of the Lost Pines GCD: lpgcd@lostpineswater.org.)

2.    Show up on Wednesday at 6 pm at Bastrop City Hall, 1311 Chestnut – your presence will “voice” your concern about this rushed action. Here's the agenda.

Remember that the Simsboro underlies Milam, Lee, Burleson and Bastrop counties and this water is being targeted to serve unbridled growth along the I-35 Corridor. Therefore, like Vista Ridge, Forestar’s permit demand has brought us together, so y'all come!

If you have the desire and time to review the documents about this settlement, they are posted at the top of this page on the Lost Pines GCD website.

Feel free to reach us for more information, and we hope to see you on Wednesday night.

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