We will monitor river water quality and quantity this year.
January 10, 2020
Dear Coalition Members:
Happy New Year! As we look ahead to this year, we are excited that the Coalition will be able to address critical issues facing the Lower Colorado River thanks to your support.
We appreciate all who recently renewed their membership. This means we can continue to carry out the mission and goals of our Coalition. If you would like to renew, please see our website for details here.
Here are some of the top challenges facing us in 2020. We will be monitoring events closely and respond when appropriate.
Skull Creek Spill Trial
A jury trial will start on Jan. 27 for Inland Environmental and Remediation Inc. on charges that it contaminated Skull Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, last year – killing fish and posing a risk to people.
After the toxic spills last year, Colorado County Judge Ty Prause - a member of our Coalition Executive Committee – said, “The creek is dead.”
Inland has been under court orders since May to assess the extent of the contamination and take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. A processor of oil and gas drilling waste, Inland E and R filed for bankruptcy in June 2019.
Travis County District Court is considering a request that Altair Disposal Services made in December for a rehearing of its application to build a hazardous waste landfill north of Altair, near the Colorado River.
Their application was denied by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality last September on grounds that the underlying aquifers, and hence the river, couldn’t be protected from potential contamination because the soil in the area was not dense enough to seal off pollutants.
Our Coalition asked TCEQ in this letter to deny the permit application.
LCRA Water Management Plan
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is currently considering the LCRA’s latest proposed updates to its Water Management Plan, which guides how it operates the Colorado River, following a hearing on Oct. 24, 2019.
Our Coalition will be watching for the TCEQ’s decision and how it may impact the lower basin.
Proposed updates to the 2015 Water Management Plan are shown here.
State Flood Planning
Public comment is invited until February 3rd on proposed rules to govern the new State Flood Plan, which will be the first statewide effort to better manage flood risks - including providing greater protection against loss of life.
The rules create 11 flood planning groups that are tasked with developing regional flood plans by 2023, for incorporation into the first state flood plan in September 2024.
Of interest to our Coalition is the proposed boundary between the Colorado and Brazos basins, as shown here.