Saturday, June 16, 2012

TWDB Staff Report on DFC Petition to GMA-12

The Texas Water Development Board staff report on the appeal of the desired future conditions of Groundwater Management Area 12 recommends that the Board find in favor of the Districts.  The TWDB staff, in their report to the Board dated June 13, 2012, dismissed Environmental Stewardship's evidence on the impacts of the desired future conditions on property rights as "outside the scope of consideration in this proceeding".  The staff likewise dismissed the evidence on the impacts of the groundwater-surface water interaction as "out of context." The report claims that, "there are no explicit requirement in the statutes .. to consider impacts on spring flow and other interactions between groundwater and surface water," though their own administrative rules established such a criterion.  Furthermore, Districts are required to consider such impacts before granting or denying a permit, and the 82nd Legislature established this as a requirement in deciding desired future conditions in the next round of the process.  It appears that Environmental Stewardship was ahead of the game.

The staff recommendation on the impact on property rights essentially confirms that it is the State's view that it is not unreasonable to take water from a surface water right by pumping the water out of the ground before it reaches the stream - thereby damaging the surface water right - even though the water has historically flowed to the stream, as it did when the State granted the surface water right.    In our view, the TWDB is setting groundwater conservation districts up for takings claims.

In abdicating its responsibilities, the staff complains, "but the Legislature did not define 'reasonable,' nor did it provide any guidelines for the TWDB to use in determining whether a DFC is reasonable." They go on to say, "notwithstanding any findings by the TWDB that a DFC is unreasonable, the final determination of a DFC remains the responsibility of the districts in the GMA".

Environmental Stewardship is considering its options and will make its case before the full Board on June 21, 2012. Click here to comment to the Board (put "ES GMA-12 DFC Appeal" in the subject line. 

The TWDB received statements from 265 individuals expressing support for Environmental Stewardship's petition;  thank you!
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Steve Box
Executive Director
Environmental Stewardship    
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Water Board staff report favors groundwater districts
GMA-12PetitonAppeal of GMA-12 Desired Future Conditions
GMA-12 Counties
Environmental Stewardship petitioned to appeal the desired future conditions of GMA-12.  A hearing on the appeal was held on March 7, 2012.  There are two important dates coming up:

June 14, 2012 - The TWDB staff issued a report to the Board favoring groundwater conservation districts.    

Click here for a copy of the TWDB staff report.  The report is the staff's recommendations to the Board.   

Click here to comment to the Board.   
Put "ES GMA-12 DFC Appeal" in the subject line.  

Click here for ES paper on impacts of groundwater-surface water interactions on property rights and State Water Plan projections    

June 21, 2012 - The Texas Water Development Board will take action to accept, reject, or modify the staff recommendations.   

A notice will be sent to you on each of the items above along with and ACTION ALERT if there is any action we need for you to take on the petition.   

BCCourtBastrop County Judge & Commissioner's Court - Groundwater District Oversight
Bastrop CourthouseEnvironmental Stewardship has requested that the Bastrop County Judge and Commissioner's Court exercise their oversight authority over the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District to ensure that current rule-making include safeguards to protect the aquifers.  These safeguards are currently lacking from the rules being proposed.  

The recent Texas Supreme Court opinion in the Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day and McDaniel provided guidance on the governance of groundwater regulation and stewardship that places oversight of groundwater conservation districts with the local electorate ... the County Judge and Commissioner's Court. 

For more information visit our website by clicking on this link.
Spring rains benefit Matagorda Bay

The rain we got down on the coast in April was a blessing.  It was too late for the oysters for this season but if the water temperature was high enough in the bays, it should have helped the oyster spawn.

It definitely helped the shrimp in the estuaries; we now have a crop that looks better than in maybe the last ten years.  Of course this still remains to be seen, the gulf season doesn't open until July 15, but still what's been caught in the bays has looked very encouraging.  A steady flow of fresh water year round is what the bays have needed for quite a while.

Buddy Treybig, Commercial Fisherman, Matagorda Texas

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websiteblog New Website and Blog
WebsiteHeaderLaGrangeWe are excited to announce that we have a new website and blog.  The site contains the same information that was on our old site, but now includes the ability to BLOG.  This means the site is MUCH MORE INTERACTIVE by allowing you, the reader, to make comments on specific pages and information posted.  We look forward to having a conversation with you about your interests and concerns. 

To visit our new website and blog click on this link.

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