San Antonio Water System CEO Robert Puente, revealed today in this interview on Texas Public Radio that the bank lenders to Abengoa Vista Ridge are "not cooperating" with the new life breathed into Vista Ridge. Now that Abengoa has failed misterablly to perform, SAWS crony Garney Construction, quickly stepped into the breach to make it all better and build the pipeline. But a funny thing happened on the way back to the banks. There was the little matter of a $120 million loan from those same lenders that Abengoa had taken out to pay for the San Antone Hose pipe. The $120 million went to Abengoa, but where did the pipe go? Puente reportedly said it's nowhere to be found.
We have our own question for CEO Puente. When can we stop pretending?
Show up this Friday in Burleson County. We have plans for you!
Do the Texas three-step to drain Vista Ridge.
This Texas Tribune piece today is about the "small" victory in stopping San Antonio Water System and their private partner (Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corporation a "non-profit" completely controlled by the financially troubled Abengoa) from accessing $885M in state funds passed by voters in 2013 (Prop 6). Not to be deterred, SAWS is still applying for $127M to integrate their water lines with Vista Ridge.
We need your help to turn this into a big victory!
Nov. 2015: Burleson County landowner and former Post Oak Savannah Groundwater District Board Member, Andy Hovorak, delivers 3300 signatures to San Antonio City Hall -- from the "forced water donors" of Burleson, Milam, Lee, Bastrop and Bryan-College Station.
This coming Monday our state water financing agency – Texas Water Development Board – will consider allowing SAWS to submit a formal proposal for the $127M.
Please, right now, take three steps to finally drive a stake into the heart of the Vista Ridge (San Antone Hose) project:
Step One: Contact your state lawmakers (Texas House and Texas Senate) here. Ask them to contact the TWDB to urge them not to give SAWS any money for any part of Vista Ridge. More details here put out by friends in the environmental community.
Step Two: Give a few bucks to help us get a big crowd at our April 22 event in Burleson County -- "The risks of the California Water Model to Texas" -- and stream it so y'all can watch wherever you are. See the donate button or go here =====>
Step Three: Plan to join us on Monday at the Texas Water Development Board meeting in Austin. You can speak for three minutes -- on Item 2. You must be there before 9:30 am. Here's the agenda. Here's the public comments protocol.
Monday's Meeting is at 9:30 am (come early to sign in) in the William B. Travis Building, 1701 N. Congress Avenue, Room 1-111, Austin, Texas.
Don't forget to join us at this event in Burleson County on April 22 - "The risks of the California Water Model to Texas".
Reminder, our next conference call is this coming Monday, April 11 at 8 pm. Contact us for details at 512-213-4511 or email@example.com
Timing is everything. And the time is nigh.
You must be watching the presidential follies. Whatever you think about the candidates, it’s pretty darned clear that voters are looking for – no, are desperate for -- change. Let’s make sure the change comes from the people, not from the political parties or their partners in perpetual purse, water and land-snatching.
What can you do? Join the League. If you have already, donate more or donate some time. Read on.
Monthly Conference Calls. LIV will have monthly conference calls for the remainder of 2016 on the second Monday of the month at 8 pm. Next call is Monday, April 11. Reply for details.
Volunteers Wanted: for this event in Caldwell (Burleson County) on April 22 Reply or call us at 512-213-4511.
“The risks of Vista Ridge…the California Water Model”, Caldwell Civic Center, Friday, April 22, 6:30 pm. Former Edwards Aquifer Authority Board member and respected hydrologist George Rice will explain the dangers facing the Simsboro aquifer relied upon by hundreds of thousands of Texans in Burleson, Milam, Lee, Brazos, Robertson and Bastrop counties. Reserve a seat here.
Who’s Hosing Whom?
- The San Antonio City Council failed to stand up to the Vista Ridge/developer coalition that is redoing the deal for the San Antone Hose, now that Abengoa is bankrupt. Despite being reminded that they foolishly ceded too much control to San Antonio Water System (SAWS) over the Vista Ridge contract from the get go, the SA Council allowed SAWS to call the shots once again. It appears that the project has been given new life by SAWS’ unilateral approval of replacing Abengoa with Garney Construction, another SAWS’ crony special interest. Moreover, SAWS and Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corporation have jointly applied to the Texas Water Development Board for state funding for Vista Ridge. CTRWSC was formed and controlled by Abengoa exclusively to grab land for and build the pipeline. Was the TWDB rigged from the get go in the 2013 session to facilitate the California Model (aka Gridzilla, aka Vista Ridge) and use Prop 6 public funding to line the pockets of private interests? Read this and don’t worry, organize! (We still think SAWS should be worried – more soon.)
- Thanks ever-so-much to the efforts of San Antonio Firefighters and Police associations, especially Greg Brockhouse, a ratepayer petition was filed last Wednesday challenging the water rates associated with Vista Ridge. San Antonio Water System has 30 days to invalidate the signatures before the Public Utility Commission must review the rates. We have no doubt that the out-of-control public water utility – SAWS – will try. Details here.
- Did you know that Save Our Springs Alliance, whose mission is to protect the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone, filed suit against the Central Texas Regional Water Supply Corporation? Wholly controlled by the now bankrupted Abengoa (and probably soon to be controlled by Garney Construction), CTRWSC’s status as a Texas non-profit water supply corporation allows it to seize easements for the Vista Ridge pipeline, for the benefit of the pipeline’s for-profit owners. If Garney takes over CTRWSC, use of this form of “eminent domain for private gain” will continue. Stay tuned for where SOS’s lawsuit goes from here.
- VERY BIG NEWS on another form of “eminent domain for private gain” came last week. The Texas Supreme Court announced it will review – for the third time -- the all-important Denbury Green case which challenges the abuse in eminent domain condemnations of “common carrier” status bestowed on privately-owned pipelines that fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission. Texas Supreme Court action on this biggest abuse of eminent domain in Texas won’t happen any earlier than this coming winter.
- LIV board member and Aubrey City Councilman, Calvin Tillman, posted this about last Tuesday’s Senate Committee on State Affairs hearing on one needed reform of eminent domain (attorney’s fees for landowners given lowball offers, a bill introduced by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst in the last session). Watch the testimony on video here. Or, read the minutes soon to be posted soon on the March 29th hearing.
- State Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) is promising to “look at” the abuse of eminent domain and common carrier status now that he’s on the Sunset Commission. The Railroad Commission is up for sunset review in the 2017 legislative session. Nichols voted against “Gridzilla” in the last session – a good sign.
- Did you hear the one about the Ethics Complaint against San Antonio Mayor Taylor on Vista Ridge contributors? Thanks to Alamo Sierra Club leader, Gay Wright, who filed the complaint, many more San Antonians are beginning to smell the stench of the hogs at the trough on The Hose.
- Austinites are trying to get the Austin City Council to replace their City Manager, Marc Ott – a tad less difficult a task than getting rid of a King. Developer whistle-blower Brian Rodgers laid out why Ott is Austin’s “Gentrifier-in-Chief”, leading the city off an affordability cliff by incentivizing growth – and making current residents pay for those costs. Longtime and former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos says Austin city management has “a culture of mismanagement” that remains unbroken. Lots more here.
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Thanks y’all! Join the League and get involved and send us all your money in prep for a rip-roaring legislative session in 2017!