Some would say only God and Mother Nature “own” the Simsboro -- humanity only stewards it.
Is it possible that Governor Greg Abbott will intervene in this manmade disaster in the making – the draining of the oh so slow to recharge Simsboro Aquifer by the San Antone Hose – just 30 miles east of his residence?
After you read this (and watch the videos, if you really want to get into this), please call the Governor's office at 512.463.2000—or better yet, write him a hand written letter to PO Box PO Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711 or fax 512-463-1849 – try the contact page on his website here too: https://gov.texas.gov/apps/contact/assistance.aspx. Ask for his intervention to Oppose the
Hose, then pray for divine intervention, too.
Last Tuesday night, Paul Terrill, the attorney for San Antonio’s for-profit partners in the “ Vista Ridge Project” (aka the “San Antone Hose”), pressed the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District to violate its own rules by doing Vista Ridge a little ole “non-substantial” favor. On September 28, Vista Ridge had already pressuredPost Oak to amend its already-published regular meeting agenda to accommodate Vista Ridge’s surprise request to extend the terms of the Vista Ridge groundwater transport permit (expiring in 2034) by 10-years. The “favor” was to rush through this extraordinary request as a non-substantial permit change the General Manager could handle on his own. The extended term is being sought to match the transport permit to Vista Ridge’s mega-permit (expiring in 2044) to pump 50,000 acre-feet per year from the Simsboro and Carrizo aquifers.
The mismatched permit terms apparently have long been a problem for Vista Ridge, but the Post Oak District has no obligation to fix it 17 years in advance. At the meeting, Terrill wanted the Board to ignore Post Oak’s own rules, which require a formal application to amend a transport permit, a review by the District as extensive as any other permit application, and 10 business days public notice in advance of a formal public hearing. (Last night’s notice – Item 14 on the agenda -- was less than 3 business days for a regular board meeting, with only informal public comment --- but in fact, many members of the public turned out, and there was lively public comment and audience response in opposition to Vista Ridge’s end run!)
Vista Ridge’s response to what they expected would be a slam dunk was flat out cocky. Terrill mocked a letter signed by three state representatives (John Cyrier, Terry Wilson and Leighton Schubert) and a letter from State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, and ignored an in-person statement by Lee County Judge Paul Fischer, who all urged that Post Oak deny the request in favor of transparency and a properly noticed, public hearing. As their basis for this request, the legislators referenced Governor Greg Abbott’s veto of HB 2378, a 2017 bill by San Antonio’s Rep. Lyle Larson to make renewals of transport permits automatic (a welfare handout by Larson to water marketers in general, but clearly a handout primarily to Vista Ridge.)
Terrill argued that the intervention of elected officials was “all political”, because the bill was passed unanimously by the Legislature before the Governor vetoed it. (Now, that’s a whole other discussion --- when is a veto not a veto? NEVER! until it is legally overridden.)
Anyway, Terrill’s message was: --- ignore Judge Fischer, ignore the three reps – Cyrier, Wilson and Schubert – ignore a State Senator and, unbelievably, IGNORE the Governor of the State of Texas!
What are these Vista Ridge guys smokin’? Hundred dollar bills, or just fumes from foreign lenders, and SAWS, who don’t want to risk having a 142-mile pipeline to nowhere in 2034? The bottom line is, there’s no emergency on the part of Post Oak to solve this latest desperate attempt to shore up a project that doesn’t make sense. [LINDA --- this paragraph was catchy but just didn’t make sense.]Agenda Item 14 was pulled down for now, because the Board acted responsibly and told Vista Ridge to put in a formal application if it wants to proceed. Will the Vista Ridge handout come back with a proper application and a properly noticed public hearing for the 10-year extension? No one knows, but residents and landowners are preparing for the next step…with hope for a better future, regardless.
When officials do the right thing – in this case, support transparency, open government, and the constituents who put them in office – they are to be sincerely applauded. Thank you, Paul, John, Terry, Leighton, Lois and yes, Governor Greg himself!
Most of all thanks to the people of Burleson & Milam counties who continue to hang in there when those water grabbers are doing nothing but hanging us…out to dry.
Stay tuned, ye people of mighty faith and contactl the Governor. Then reach your local officials too. Urge them to save the Simsboro from a manmade disaster.