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May 10, 2012

Texas Water Symposium at Trinity University, May 17: "Groundwater for Texans"

Don’t miss the final session of this season to be held at Trinity University in San Antonio. Our distinguished panel will discuss the recent ruling by the Texas Supreme Court on the highly publicized Day v. EAA case regarding ownership of groundwater. The program will explore the effects on a variety of stakeholders and a look at our complex water policy framework in Texas. A mix of viewpoints will be presented and discussed.

This presentation is part of the 2011-2012 Texas Water Symposium Series, a format known for creating balanced conversations about complex water issues — who owns the groundwater, how will it be managed, and at what price? The Symposium is your invitation to listen and learn as part of the live audience or from the radio broadcast. This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, May 17, 2012; 7 p.m.
Stieren Theater at Trinity University, 1 Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX.
Directions

Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune moderates this Texas Water Symposium between a panel of participants who represent a who’s who in current Texas water policy and analysis:
 • Andy Sansom, Executive Director of the River Systems Institute at TSU
 • Greg Ellis, attorney specializing in groundwater law
 • Tom Mason of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody and former General     Manager at LCRA
 • Russell Johnson, McGinnis, Lochridge and Kilgore and lead counsel for the Texas Wildlife Association.
Evan Smith

The annual Texas Water Symposium series is co-sponsored in a unique partnership between Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas Tech University, Texas Public Radio and the Hill Country Alliance. This final session of the season, we are excited to add our host for this special program, Trinity University to our partnership.

All of the water forums are taped and aired on Texas Public Radio Newsmaker Hour. Thursday’s forum will air on KTXI 90.1 FM Kerrville/Fredericksburg on Friday, June 1 at 7pm and on KSTX 89.1 FM San Antonio Sunday, June 3 at 8pm. Previous programs on timely water issues that have been recorded over the past five years are archived in the Newsmaker Hour section of the Texas Public Radio website.

“One of our core objectives is to create an informed and engaged citizenry so that regional decisions reflect the desires of the Hill Country community to protect water supply, water quality, heritage ranch lands and the unique quality of life found in Central Texas.” said Sky Lewey, President of the Hill Country Alliance. “The Texas Water Symposium is one of our best ways educate Texans about our most precious natural resource – water.”

Download our Texas Water Symposium 2011-2012 flyer here.

More about our panelists:

Russell S. Johnson focuses his practice on environmental and water law, including representation of public utilities, municipalities, and businesses in all forms of litigation and regulatory matters. He has a strong background in advocating and negotiating for clients before legislative bodies, administrative agencies, and both state and federal courts in the water law area. He is a Board Member, Texas Tech University School of Law Center for Water Law and Policy. Mr. Johnson is recognized throughout the State of Texas as a leading expert, presenter and spokesman on water law and related issues. Russ was extensively involved in legislative efforts to create the Edwards Aquifer Authority, modernize Texas water with Senate Bill 1 (1997) and Senate Bill 2 (2001) and subsequent legislation related to groundwater management. He continues these efforts at each legislative session. He represents clients in all manner of water rights issues, including conveyance and regulatory compliance. He strives to keep property rights and ownership preserved and protected. He is currently partner with McGinnis, Lochridge and Kilgore, LLP, Austin, Texas.

Evan Smith is the Editor in Chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan digital news organization based in Austin. The Tribune's deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can found at its website, texastribune.org; in the pages of the New York Times; and in newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the state. In not quite two years in operation, the Tribune has won two Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, a general excellence award from the Online News Association and a Knight-Batten award for innovations in journalism. Before co-founding the Tribune, Evan spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, including eight years as Editor and a year as President and Editor in Chief. On his watch, Texas Monthly twice won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.

Andrew Sansom
is one of Texas’ leading conservationists. He is a former executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, executive director of the Texas Nature Conservancy, and founder of The Parks and Wildlife Foundation of Texas. Mr. Sansom also is a past recipient of the Chevron Conservation Award, The Chuck Yeager Award from the National Fish and Wildlife oundation, The Pugsley Medal from the National Park Foundation, and the Seton Award from the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas Tech University and Austin College. Mr. Sansom, a native of Brazoria County, has dedicated his life to environmental conservation. His published works have appeared in Texas Monthly, The Texas Observer, Houston City Magazine, Politics Today, Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Texas Town & City. His first book, Texas Lost, was photographed by Wyman Meinzer and published in November 1995. His most recent book is Texas Past, photographed by Wyman Meinzer and published in November 1997. Andrew Sansom now serves as Executive Director of the River Systems Institute and Research Professor of Geography at Texas State University-San Marcos.

Tom Mason is currently of counsel to the Austin-based law firm Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody. Mr. Mason has over 30 years experience with water and environmental issues through his work in private legal practice and service at state and regional agencies. From 2007 to 2011 he served as general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority, a regional agency with responsibility for managing the Highland Lakes and providing water, energy, and community services to a large part of Central Texas. Mr. Mason served as general counsel to LCRA for nine years before being named general manager. Before joining LCRA, Mr. Mason held positions as director of water quality at the Texas Water Commission and assistant general counsel for the Texas Department of Water Resources (predecessor agencies of the current Texas Commission on Environmental Quality). He also was a partner in a law firm with a statewide practice in environmental and administrative law. Mr. Mason graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1980, and holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated magna cum laude in 1975. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Water Laws Committee of the Texas Water Conservation Association, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Advisory Council, the Texas Advisory Board of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Austin Area Research Organization, and was recently invited to join the board of the Texas Water Foundation.

Gregory M. Ellis
is currently in a solo law practice and has a long history in water law and water issues. While still in law school in the mid-eighties, he helped clerk the House Natural Resources Committee and worked on a variety of water legislation. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law he worked as legislative liaison for the Texas Water Commission. In 1992 Ellis moved to Houston to serve as General Counsel to the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District. From 1997 to 2004 Ellis was the General Manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority, after which he opened his law practice concentrating on representing groundwater conservation district clients across the State. Ellis also serves as General Counsel to the Texas Water Foundation, a non-profit corporation that provides water conservation education. Ellis is well versed in groundwater law, groundwater conservation districts, general government and administrative procedures.  


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