Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District will consider whether or not to appeal Judge Campbell's decision in favor of Landowners at January meeting.
The Board will meet on Wednesday January 17, 2018, at 7:00 p.m. at Bastrop City Hall, 1311 Church Street, Bastrop,TX.  
We request that you attend and/or write to the District urging it NOT TO APPEAL the trial court ruling upholding private property rights.  
Bastrop County Courthouse
This Wednesday, January 17, 2018, Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (District or Lost Pines District) will consider and possibly act on its option to appeal Judge Carson Campbell's January 4, 2018, ruling to the state court of appeals.  (Click here for agenda) 
Judge Campbell's order ruled that the District erred in denying party status to four landowners and REVERSED the District's decision. Campbell also REVERSED the permit to pump 46,000 acre feet of groundwater per year that was given by the District to Recharge Water, L.P. and REMANDED the case back to the Lost Pines District for proceedings consistent with the Court's decision.    
Environmental Stewardship, the other Landowners, and several elected official are urging the District to likewise reverse course and accept the court's ruling that will allow the Landowners to protect their property and water rights. The Judge's ruling affirms our position that whether you have a well or not is irrelevant -- if your groundwater resources are going to be impacted by a pumping permit, then you, as a landowner, have the right to be heard.  
Likewise, we are asking you, as landowners in Bastrop and Lee counties, to also urge the Lost Pines District to honor the Judge's order and NOT APPEAL the case. You can let your voice be heard by:
  • attending the Board meeting -- your presence will show your support for the NO APPEAL message,
  • providing a short public comment strictly focused on your request that the District NOT APPEAL the Judge's ruling (comments must be three (3) minutes or less, and you must click here for very important guidance on what - what not - to say), and/or
  • writing a short email message to the District's Board of Directors reflecting your desire that the District NOT APPEAL.  Please address your message to the Lost Pines Board of Directors and follow the same guideline for what to say - not say - as in the link above.  Send your email to:
    • Board President Mike Talbot  (mike.talbot.4@gmail.com), and
    • District's General Manager James Totten (jtotten@lostpineswater.org)
 For more information about this legal battle to 
defend and protect our aquifers and the Colorado River  
See the sidebar below:   Landowners' Appeal: Possible Impacts 
visit our website:  Landowners' Affected Persons Appeal 

Steve Box
Executive Director
Environmental Stewardship
P.O. Box 1423
Bastrop, TX 78602

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Protecting the Natural Resources of the
Colorado River Basin and Texas Gulf Coast
LandownersAppealLandowners' Appeal:  Possible Impacts
Following the Texas Supreme Court decision in Day v. EAA, the court is being asked to affirm some of the more environmentally friendly elements of oil and gas law as applied to groundwater in Texas: 
  • Bastrop County Courthouse
    Landowners have fundamental, constituti
    onally  protected ownership of the water under their land and are entitled to defend their ownership in accord with due process.
  • Landowners who have chosen to conserve the groundwater they own for future use by not pumping the groundwater (current non-users) have the same due-process rights as landowners who have chosen to pump groundwater to the maximum extent possible. They have the right to defend against an unlawful taking of their property.
  • The groundwater owned is in a common pool and every owner has a right to a fair share of the common pool whether or not they own a well in the aquifer. They have the right to pump their groundwater in the future, and perhaps the right to donate their groundwater to a water trust for environmental flow purposes.
  • All owners in the pool have protected rights against other landowners, and all landowners in the pool have a responsibility to protect the pool for other users.
As landowners, ES and three other landowners (collectively "Landowners" and "Affected Persons") filed motions to be included as "parties" in the contested case hearing on the End Op application. The Landowners were denied the opportunity to defend their interests in the hearing in 2013 and immediately appealed to the State District Court in Bastrop, TX. Because of jurisdictional issues, Landowners were required to wait until Lost Pines GCD reached a final decision on the permit before the case could move forward in District Court. Lost Pines granted the End Op permit in September 2016.
Landowners' returned to 21st Judicial District Court on November 4, 2016 with a petition for judicial review in Bastrop County. A hearing on jurisdictional issues is scheduled for October 18, 2017. A hearing or jury trial on merits will follow if Judge Campbell accepts jurisdiction in the case.
The lawsuit has both local and statewide implications regarding who has access to administrative and judicial processes involving the use or taking of groundwater.
A favorable ruling would have the following local impacts:
  • Remand the permit application back to the contested case hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) with Landowners as parties,
    • Environmental Stewardship would be able to make its case regarding the impacts of groundwater pumping on the Colorado River
  • Stay the permit for 46,000 ac-ft/yr of groundwater pumping pending the outcome of the hearing,
  • Perhaps cause re-consideration of the permit and permit terms.
A favorable ruling would have the following statewide impacts:
  • Give landowners the means to effectively oppose water exploiters who are now effectively unopposed when seeking permits for huge quantities of groundwater from Groundwater Conservation Districts.
    • Regardless of if they own a well in the aquifer being pumped.
  • Cause other factors such as future use, subsidence, and environmental needs to be considered.
    • As prescribed by the State Supreme Course in Day v. Edward Aquifer Authority
  • Help determine to what extent oil and gas law can be applied to groundwater.
For more information visit our website:  
  End Op, LP , 
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Environmental Stewardship is a charitable nonprofit organization whose purposes are to meet current and future needs of the environment and its inhabitants by protecting and enhancing the earth's natural resources; to restore and sustain ecological services using scientific information; and to encourage public stewardship through environmental education and outreach. 

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