Thursday, September 5, 2013

What’s with ‘Mythbusting’?

StopCTA participated in every Commissioners Court public comment period for nearly a year. We only stepped back when the Big Fire became the County’s number one priority. One of the last comments presented by StopCTA on August 8, 2011was titled ‘Mythbusting’.

‘Mythbusting’ outlined some details about Jim Carpenter’s second failed attempt to create a MUD during the 2011 legislative session - the first try was in 2009 - and discussed Rep. Mark Strama’s involvement with the proposed bill. Then the process of how a MUD could be created without involvement of the legislature was presented. But perhaps most importantly, acquisition of the Falcon Seaboard property (located just across the river from the proposed CTA site) by airport interests (Meck-CTA, LLC) was publicly announced for the first time.

On August 9, the day after those comments were presented to the Court and posted to the Factoids blog, County Engineer Ronnie Moore shared ‘Mythbusting’ by email with Jim Carpenter. Mr. Moore stated more than once that he kept up with what StopCTA was posting. But we’re curious as to just what in that post made it worthy of sending to the developer. Maybe someday we’ll have an answer . . .

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Regrettable regurgitations

After reading citizen comments submitted in response to the March 25, 2011 Public Notice, the Corps realized that there was no clear description of the scope of the proposed Central Texas Airport project. At an October 25, 2011 meeting, the Corps pressed the developer to define exactly what the project included. The response can be found on the very first page of the revised Environmental Information Document (EID) submitted in January 2012. The passage is worth repeating here - it’s priceless!

“The proposed, action [the proposed CTA] as described above, is a complete and independent project. No funding or approval for development beyond this proposed action has been obtained. The elements of the conceptual Eco-merge project (for example: commercial, industrial, or energy production, hotel, infrastructure, and other development features) are a second and independent project from the proposed action, on which the proposed action does not depend for its purpose and need. The specific design and feasibility of future actions will depend on what is economically feasible in the future.

Yet, for a project that’s ‘complete and independent’ from any other development, there is sure a LOT of promotion for ‘development beyond this proposed action’ in the Combined Decision Document. So how did all those regrettable regurgitations slip into the Corps’ permitting process?

The Corps clearly states in the Permit as well as throughout the Combined Decision Document that they relied on data provided by the applicant. The first EID was a particularly empty and egregious PR blitz. The revised EID was somewhat more restrained but there are still long passages reminiscent of the Bob Bullock Museum Eco-Merge hoopla in 2010, T. R. Reid’s half page ‘infomercial’ in the April 30, 2011 Advertiser and the Perryman Group’s infamous and fanciful ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ written in May 2009 for the Commissioners benefit before the 381 Agreement was negotiated. In addition, the developer responded separately to citizen comments submitted during the Public Notice.

So it’s no surprise that passages from these ’sources’ are referenced any time a ‘hook’ relating to ‘green’ or economic impact or concern about noise or light pollution or whether the project is even needed etc. appears. But it is especially disheartening that citizen concerns in the Public Interest Review section provided such fertile ground for the developer to strut his stuff. An unsavory reminder of the imperfections in regulatoryland and the persistent onslaught of development that flies in the face of reason.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Size matters

When T. R. Reid confirmed in the October 31, 2010 Austin American Statesman article Airport faces headwinds that larger aircraft such as 737s would not be barred from the airport, those of us opposing the CTA project felt vindicated as we had been predicting for some time that would be the case.

On the other side of the equation, county employees and elected officials generally expressed surprise and denial. We had been told again and again they believed the airport would only be used for smaller aircraft. But a recent discovery indicates that T. R. Reid’s ‘revelation’ should not have come as a surprise to those who masterminded the 381 Agreement with the CTA.

The Perryman Group’s May 2009 PR snow job titled The Sky’s the Limit leaves no doubt that large jets would be using the proposed CTA. In fact, accommodating those aircraft was presented as a major selling point. On page 15, a bullet point under the section Lack of similar facilities states:

The 7,500 foot runway would allow for the landing of any type of jet if needed, a service not offered at other general aviation airports nearby. The longer runway planned for CTA can also accommodate the requirements of larger corporate aircrafts.

It is interesting to note that sections of the scanned document that we received from an ORR to the County appear to have been highlighted. The bullet point quoted above was one of the highlighted passages.

So there is no doubt that the County was on notice about the aircraft that would be using the airport even before the first draft of the 381 Agreement was submitted on September 1, 2009. Hopefully, that will put the we-didn’t-know myth to rest once and for all. You’ve been busted so let’s move on.

Friday, March 8, 2013

We’re baaack

Things have been quiet on the StopCTA blog for several months. But that does not mean we haven’t been keeping a close eye this project and revisiting the documents that spawned the aberration to uncover new insights.

Note to those who think the proposed CTA is dead . . . it’s not over till it’s over and never assume otherwise. Even if the 381 Agreement with Bastrop County were to vanish into history, the airport could still be built if enough deluded investors buy into the developer’s fantasy.

StopCTA will remain vigilant . . .

2014 all entries
2013 all entries
2012 all entries
2011 all entries
2010 all entries