Here is our email blast that just went out, Monday, April 1 --- this is no joke!
Friends of SAWDF:
SAWDF and other conservation groups testified against HB 1066, by Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin).
We asked for amendments to keep the bill from applying to existing permits that have not had a thorough review by regulatory authorities after the project starts producing. The bill would essentially give some existing permits a free pass into automatic permit renewal.
Rep. Ashby refused to amend the bill, even though the Post Oak Groundwater Conservation District asked him not to include their Vista Ridge export permits in this bill --- even we would not be opposed to the bill if it didn't "grandfather" existing projects.
The bill has passed to the full House without amendment, to be heard tomorrow, April 2, on a floor vote.
We may not have the votes to defeat it --- but it is terribly important for rural communities over the Simsboro to stand together. We are being marginalized once again.
Please call Rep. John Cyrier's office at 512.463.0682 TODAY and ask him to vote NO on this bill tomorrow.
He will be standing up for his own constituents who will be impacted by the Vista Ridge project next door in Burleson County ---his fellow legislators, Rep. Terry Wilson (Milam) and Rep. Ben Leman (Burleson) are also being asked to vote against the bill. Stand with our rural neighbors!
It is a bill the San Antonio Water System and other water marketers are backing to remove yet another impediment to getting their massive groundwater export permits made as permanent --- and bullet-proof---as possible going forward.
They are steadily whittling away at any local control that might get in their way.
Here's why we oppose it:
- We know the Vista Ridge project next door to Lee County in Burleson County will impact Lee and Bastrop counties.
- The Vista Ridge project will send 16 billion gallons of water to San Antonio every year ---- the drawdown from such a massive project won't stop at the county line.
- Those of you fighting the LCRA permit know how far the 8-billion/gal/yr LCRA drawdowns will travel over the next 60 years; think about drawdowns over the same areas when twice as much water is pumped by Vista Ridge (not even counting another 24 billion gallons being pumped by End Op) .
- The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater District wrote a letter to Rep. Ashby and the House Natural Resources Committee to PLEASE not pass this bill unless Vista Ridge is kept out of it and allowed to proceed as planned.
- The bill will let SAWS/Vista Ridge do an end run around a groundwater district's specific plea about a very real project they are trying to regulate.
- The Committee and Rep. Ashby refused to amend the bill to have it be PROSPECTIVE only as we and Post Oak GCD requested --- it is a very bad sign to see local control ignored.
Thank you for making the call --- feel free to let us know if you called. We are sorry for the short notice but that's the way the Legislature works.
PS Vista Ridge wants an extension on its 2034 expiration date for its export permit to match its 2044 operating permit --- and they want that extension TODAY, in 2019 --- this bill gives them that on a silver platter. Production starts in 2020 and Post Oak GCD wants the right to look at extension of the 2034 permit in 2034 when they see how the aquifer is reacting to the pumping.