We meant to report to you yesterday about the Forestar Settlement on Monday night -- mostly a big win for us all, BUT THEN this article appears in yesterday's Statesman:
We'll have more to say after Christmas -- meanwhile, enjoy this report on the Lost Pines GCD:
This is no hype, folks. Monday night's meeting of the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District was extraordinary. You can even watch it on the city of Bastrop's TV channel: Click here -- our own Michele Gangnes starts at 47.13.
The Forestar Settlement was passed. This flier we handed out at the meeting is our take on the good and not-so good of this settlement. The VERY good in this deal is that Forestar agreed to allow Lost Pines to watchdog the aquifer and to enforce various provisions in the contract that allow Lost Pines to limit the permit. That includes if the Desired Future Conditions are not met. And some of the best news all year is that Forestar must reimburse Lost Pines' legal bills, dismiss its lawsuit, and drill monitor wells for the District to use!
Most importantly, the Lost Pines Board is setting out a path for reform of groundwater district's permitting practices. This includes recognition of affected communities' concerns in the decisions governing their most precious resource. Yup, that's right -- local control is becoming a reality in practice, at least in the Lost Pines.
The Board took seriously the comments submitted jointly by Environmental Stewardship, the League and two other local watchdog groups, and even incorporated some into the settlement. Special thanks to Steve Box (ES), our hydrologist George Rice and Phil Cook.
We owe a debt of gratitude to General Manager Jim Totten, Board President Mike Talbot and all the board members for their willingness to open their doors to what we hope will become a real stakeholder process at Lost Pines.
And once again, we thank our local officials -- pictured here -- in a pow-wow taking place as the Board deliberated in Executive Session. From left to right are Lee County Commissioner Charles "Chappy" Murray, Giddings Mayor John Dowell, Rep. John Cyrier and Lee County Judge Paul Fischer. Bastrop City Councilmembers Kay McAnally and Kelly Gilleland, not pictured, were sitting in the back.
The battle over the Simsboro is only going to heat up in 2016, but we're beginning to believe that someone out there is looking out for us -- all Texans and our resources, that is.
Have a peaceful Christmas and make ready to ride those water robber barons high!
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.