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We are alerting you to the possibility that an important precedent for groundwater policy, affecting all of central Texas, could be set tomorrow night.
TOMORROW (Monday, December 21st), just 4 days before Christmas, a settlement between Forestar Real Estate Group and Lost Pines GCD will be considered.
Come a little early to read more about this, as the details are still in negotiations!
Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Meeting -- come early at 5:30!
Forestar Real Estate Group is pushing hard to settle its lawsuit against the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District before the end of the year. The good news is that Forestar has agreed to reduce its permit demand to 28,500 acre-feet per year -- down from the full 45,000 AFY. (Remember, they already have a permit for 12,000, and this is included in the 28,500).
Forestar has also agreed to "stair step" this permit with a monitoring regime that could be a positive step forward for managing large permit applications. In any event, it has moved forward what we've been fighting for all these years – a seat at the table for those of us whose primary interests are sustaining the aquifers and supporting private property values of all landowners. This is a definite step in the right direction for local control of groundwater.
The District’s manager sat down with a group of us and State Rep. John Cyrier in a productive discussion of our comments and forwarded them to the district’s attorneys for further review.
The bad news is that the devil is in the details and a settlement with Forestar may well be just too rushed AND we cannot forget that there are two other mega-permits in play over Simsboro water.
This agreement, in our view, must be considered fully within the context that End Op continues to push for 46,000 AFY in the Lost Pines District and the 800-pound (50,000 AFY) gorilla, Vista Ridge, just over the Lee County line in Burleson and Milam counties, are very much in play.
We'll have some news on Vista Ridge just after New Years on a growing movement across the region to scuttle this dangerous project.
Bottom line for tomorrow night is this. We cannot say exactly what the Lost Pines Board may be voting on OR whether we can support this agreement. That is why YOU need to be there to hear or read our comments and to make your own if so moved. Your presence is also a statement.
We are very grateful that the volunteer team of "water wonks" Steve Box (Environmental Stewardship), Phil Cook and Michele Gangnes (Neighbors for Neighbors and the League) -- together with Rep.Cyrier -- for the many hours they have spent on this in the middle of the holidays.
We gave this plaque of appreciation to Rep. Cyrier at yesterday's Christmas Party. Thanks to those of you who could make it, and we apologize that it was not more festive.
PS We'll be over at La Hacienda afterwards for a little more holiday cheer and hopefully no crying in our beer. :)