Locals gain seat at table in BRA water hearing

August 28, 2013

AUSTIN — Hood County contingencies got what they wanted in Monday’s hearing regarding the Brazos River Authority (BRA) water use permit.

They were granted party status, meaning they now have the right to be included in discovery procedures and to file responses during the permitting process.

In addition, deadlines for the pre-hearing schedule were adjusted following a proposal by John Turner, attorney with Haynes and Boone.

Locals have scrutinized BRA’s request for more water because of historic low Lake Granbury levels.

From the Lake Granbury area, party status was granted to Hood County, the city of Granbury, Lake Granbury Waterfront Owners Association, the Brazos River Alliance, Ken Hackett and Joe Williams.

Others granted party status were Possum Kingdom Lake Association, Chisholm Trail Ventures, NRG Texas Power, city of Houston and Friends of Lake Limestone. Numerous groups already had party status in the matter, including Friends of the Brazos, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Dow Chemical, Comanche Growers Group, and the cities of Round Rock, Lubbock, College Station and Bryan.

Following Monday morning’s hearing with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), Turner said it was a good day.

“First, we were all granted party status, which means they have the ability to participate as the process continues,” Turner said. “And second, we were able to get a reasonable schedule. I feel good about that.”

The law firm of Haynes and Boone is representing Hood County, the city of Granbury and the Lake Granbury Waterfront Owners Association and Friends (LGWOA) in a mission to stop the water permit requested by the BRA. The water permit would give the BRA another 1 million acre-feet of water to sell. Of that amount, 421,000 is firm water, while 670,000 in interruptible water and would only be available during certain circumstances.

The proposed pre-hearing schedule presented by the BRA legal team was adjusted following a recommendation by Turner. The timeline was extended about three months with the evidentiary hearing to begin April 21 and conclude by May 2.

Turner said the extra time was needed to adequately prepare the case.

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