Saturday, December 17, 2011

For the birds

A few days ago, this LTE titled ‘Eagles at airport site’ appeared in the Austin American Statesman:

I own property on the south side of the Colorado River across from the site to the proposed Central Texas Airport in Bastrop County. I have observed and photographed both mature and juvenile bald eagles flying and roosting in the area of the planned take-off and landing patterns for the proposed airport. I hope that Bastrop County officials will withdraw their support of this airport for the preservation of these bald eagles and other wildlife that inhabit this area.

Margaret Maguire
San Antonio

Eagles are a noble and beloved bird but it’s going to take more than sentimental, well-intentioned concerns like Ms. Maguire’s to put the brakes on this project. Forget the Feds as Bald Eagles are no longer on the Endangered Species List. And forget County officials as they inked a 381 (Economic Development) Agreement well over a year ago that legally obligates them to support the project.

Those of us who have taken the time to read the 381 Agreement are well aware of the County’s obligations. Here is a pertinent excerpt from Section 10 titled ‘Mutual Assistance: County Cooperation and Assistance’ (discussed in more detail here):

“. . .to cooperate with and assist Company in any Company application to an Infrastructure Agency, for such approvals, consents or permits and any regulatory, financial or other forms of assistance as shall be deemed reasonable, necessary or appropriate for the planning, design, acquisition, development, construction, equipment, operation and financing of the Project.”

Knowledge is power. This site offers a formidable collection of documents that just might hold the key to getting the job done. Start reading folks . . .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Show your true colors!

These comments were presented during discussion of the agenda item dealing with the USACE permit application for work on the airport. Some adjustments were made on the fly in response to Ronnie Moore’s presentation at the beginning of the discussion.

Mr. Moore was quite happy to let the USACE do its job without input from the County. This would be a sure way for the developer to have his way with the Corps! However, the Court finally stepped up to the plate and agreed to address concerns about water quality in the comments that will be submitted by the County to the Corps. The Court even discussed if there was a possibility to upgrade the Environmental Assessment (EA) to a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)! The possibility of the Corps holding a Public Hearing and having the EA be made available for public review before a final determination is made was also discussed.

in addition to presenting comments, Steve Box of Environmental Stewardship submitted a detailed letter listing environmental and water quality concerns. He was also asked to contribute appropriate wording to the County’s letter to the Corps. A letter on behalf of Sierra Club was also submitted.

Please consider submitting comments to the USACE before the May 9th deadline.

At the last Court session, I challenged Bastrop County to do the right thing and submit comments to the Army Corps and TCEQ on the permit application that is the subject of this agenda item. Thank you for taking that challenge seriously.

This flawed application is pretty much what we have come to expect from the developer of the proposed Central Texas Airport. It contains incomplete and misleading information and is really unworthy of serious consideration. All in all, it’s more pipedream than reality.

The question is . . . will Bastrop County choose to debunk this fantasy or will it grant another free pass to this ill-conceived project?

If there is any upside to this application, it is that there is an opportunity for the reviewing agencies to hold public hearings. In addition to submitting CRITICAL comments, Bastrop County should request that those hearings take place.

It’s time to show your true colors. Are you going to do everything you can to protect the Colorado River and the taxpaying citizens of this county? Or do your loyalties lie elsewhere.

I guess we’ll know soon enough . . .

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