Tuesday, April 14, 2015

TESPA Press Release Public Hearing April 15, 2015

TESPA Press Release
April 13, 2015

  On Wednesday, April 15, 2015, a public hearing will be conducted by the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District to evaluate a claim filed by the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA). This public hearing will be held in the Dripping Springs City Hall at 6 p.m.

  This public hearing is in response to a notice of intent to sue filed by TESPA alleging that the wells and well field constructed by Electro Purification were constructed without a necessary permit from the Hays Trinity GCD. This notice is a requirement to filing suit under Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code. In addition to filing the notice of intent, TESPA has filed suit in Hays County state district court in San Marcos. To date, TESPA has not sought preliminary injunctive relief in state court because it has not been necessary to stop further development of the wells.

  Under Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code, the district must respond to the notice of intent to sue within 90 days. TESPA alleges that the Hays Trinity GCD has jurisdiction over the area where the Electro Purification wells are located. Under the statute creating the Hays Trinity GCD, that district has jurisdiction over all portions of the Trinity Aquifer in Hays County not otherwise regulated by another groundwater conservation district or entity.

  According to Jeff Mundy, lead counsel for TESPA, “The law that created the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District states that it has default jurisdiction within all of Hays County unless another groundwater district did as of 2001. According to our research and communications with the other districts, no other district claims jurisdiction over the portion of the Trinity Aquifer that Electro Purification seeks to use, and it is within Hays County. So, the HTGCD appears to have regulatory jurisdiction over this area. We hope they will have the courage to step forward and do the job the Legislature gave them to protect the groundwater for all citizens, not just those who can install the biggest pump in the deepest well.

  According to the statute, this claim must be brought by citizens within ½ mile of the Electro Purification wells. According to the notice of intent letter, several TESPA members have water wells on property that they own within ½ mille, and a group such as TESPA is authorized to bring such claims on behalf of its members. These citizens will testify at the hearing, if necessary, in order to establish TESPA’s standing to maintain this allegation under the statute.

  On Wednesday night, we hope that the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District will initiate its inquiry into TESPA’s allegation and, in accordance with applicable administrative law procedures, will likely name parties and establish a process for resolving this allegation. The public is welcome to attend this proceeding.

  We encourage TESPA supporters who can to attend this hearing and show the District that the citizens and nearby residents are looking to the District and their elected officials to assert jurisdiction over this matter. The meeting is Wednesday, April 15th, 6 p.m., at Dripping Springs City Hall, 511 Mercer Street, Dripping Springs, Texas 78620.

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