On Thursday, April 27th, the House Natural Resources Committee passed House Bill 4122 out of Committee at a formal meeting at Chairman Larson's desk on the House floor. The introduced version of this bill allowed a landowner with 1,000 acres or more and within the jurisdiction of two or more groundwater conservation districts to petition the districts to transfer into one district if the districts agree to the transfer.
After the hearing, in which many landowners testified against the bill, a committee substitute was drafted which significantly altered these provisions-- reducing the acreage requirement from 1,000 acres to 100 acres, adding a requirement that 20% of the landowner's property must be located in the receiving district's boundaries, and removing the district's ability to refuse to accept the new territory. This new language was met with significant disagreement, and consequently, at the April 19th Natural Resources Committee hearing, the bill was not brought up for a vote.
As a result, a second committee substitute was drafted that is a significant...more
Needmore argues that House Bill 3405 does not permit third parties, like TESPA, to contest permits, and that therefore, SOAH does not have jurisdiction to hear the contested case.more
In a 12/19 letter to BSEACD, Needmore's attorney, Ed McCarthy, argues, among other things, that House Bill 3405 prohibits affected landowners from protesting Needmore's application to produce over 887 acre feet of groundwater a year from the Trinity Aquifer. For several reasons, TESPA disagrees with this argument and sent a letter to BSEACD explaining why Mr. McCarthy's argument is flawed.more
This is a letter written by Needmore's attorney in response to BSEACD's decision to issue Needmore a permit for the full amount they requested--289,080,000 gallons of water a year with special conditions requiring Needmore to reduce production when there are impacts to near by wells.
Essentially, Mr. McCarthy has two main arguments. One, that House Bill 3405, the law that extended BSEACD’s jurisdiction to cover Needmore Ranch, requires the District to conduct a hearing BEFORE issuing the permit. This is not how the District normally does things, it is not the procedure that is in the water code, and it is not how the district interpreted the law when they adopted rules implementing it. The second main argument that Mr. McCarthy is making is that the District should not be allowed to place special conditions on the permit requiring Needmore to reduce pumping if there are impacts—as HB 3405 requires them to issue the permit for the maximum production capacity of the well. He requests a contested case hearing to dispute the district placing special conditions on the...more