Toledo Bend Bi-State Alliance
Minutes July 22, 2002
The meeting was called to order by Larry Kelly.
Don Bell, Sabine Parish Chamber of Commerce, lead the group in the opening prayer.
Joe Goodson asked members and visitors in attendance to introduce themselves and to state where they are from.
One change to the Agenda was the addition of the Texas SRA Lawsuit Appeal.
Minutes of the June 24, 2002 meeting were approved and accepted as read.
Margene Boudreaux gave the treasurer’s report for Janna Lehman. June deposits included one Associate Membership of $10 and $24 for hats bringing the current balance to $2,248.42. There were no checks written in June. Margene reminded the group there are hats still available for $12 each. The Treasurer’s Report was approved and accepted as given.
DEDTA Report: No report. Committee representative was absent. Joe Goodson said he will helping Charles English on the DEDTA Retirees Committee for East Texas. The first meeting will occur in the next couple of weeks.
East Texas Regional Water Planning Committee report: No report. Committee representative was absent.
New Business: Larry Kelly
FERC - The Letter Writing Campaign is doing quite well. Approximately 300 letters are now posted on the FERC web site. The Citizens Advisory Committee also has an excellent web site that is linked to the Toledo-Bend web site, and they have form letter under the resolution for people to sign, supporting the lake level. Larry has not yet received a letter the FERC was sending out on July 12th, summarizing the Collaborative Effort Process. Diane Lampson said she published the letter in last week’s Sabine Index Newspaper. Joe Goodson is working to get Sen. Staples, Rep. Christian, and maybe Sen. Smith, Sen. Cain, and Rep. Salter in the same meeting with our Co-chairmen to get our effort going in both states in next year’s legislation. Larry noted that Texas Legislature meets only every other year, while Louisiana’s Legislature met in fiscal session this year, Texas did not meet this year. All that gets done for the next two years will be done in Texas in the coming year.
LA SRA -Larry informed the Association that he has filed a formal complaint, under his name as an individual, with the District Attorney’s Office in Sabine Parish concerning the Sabine River Authority Board of Commissioners going into Executive Session during the June meeting and discussing the lake level issue under the topic of the Simmons VS SRA case. The District Attorney’s Office is in the process of investigating and gathering information from the SRA Board of Commissioners to determine if there is a basis for the complaint, and if so, will file suit under the Open Meeting Laws of Louisiana. Discussion followed regarding the last LA SRA meeting held on June 26th. Larry would like the SRA Board pass an alternative motion to change the Operating Guide for the operation of the lake, effective May 1, 2004, which would be one day after the 1964 Bonds are paid off. Prior to that the Board could have everything done that would be needed to make that change. Appreciation for all Larry has done to get the Toledo Bend Operating Guide changed was expressed by several members.
TX SRA -Joe Goodson read the comments he gave at the Texas SRA Board meeting in Center on July 11th. Joe showed a dramatic chart depicting the fairly stable lake levels during the first 15 years of operation, and then how the levels started to drop during the next 15 years.
He said these trends are alarming. He believes this trend is due to excessive generation below 168 msl during those last 15 years. Mark Sloan of Radio Station KTPR had Donnie Henson of the Texas SRA in an interview the week following the TX SRA Board meeting, to address a list of questions provided by Joe Goodson. After pointing out that Toledo Bend’s issues had never been placed on the SRA Board’s Agenda and no one from Sabine County has served on the Board, Joe said Mr. Henson did say he saw no reason why with a letter written to the Manager of the SRA, we couldn’t have a meeting in the near future, close enough to us to have a number of residents attend. Diane Lampman asked if would be possible to get the Texas SRA and Louisiana SRA to have a joint meeting so all the Texas and Louisiana residents and legislators from both states could attend. Joe Goodson said it sounds like a good step, but we are nowhere close to having that kind of meeting. We need to have the SRAs meet where the only issue on the agenda is the Toledo Bend issue.
Comments -Larry said he will be putting together another letter of facts to send to the FERC, including why he feels the Collaborative Effort failed. That letter will be sent out to the members for comments prior to being mailed.
Diane Lampmann said there will be 5000 of the Resolution letters mailed out on Wednesday with the newspaper. Larry said letters
to FERC and legislators are very important, and do make an impression and show that someone cares.
Larry explained why it is difficult to get a representative on the Texas SRA Board since it is a political appointment. They are appointed for a period of 5 years, 4 from the south end , 4 from the north end, and one at-large, with appointments made every 2 years.
TX SRA Lawsuit Appeal - Larry has a copy of the Appeal filed by the TX SRA in response to the judgments won by the plaintiffs of the 35 lawsuits for the “taking of property”, and will be taking it to Mr. Soileau to see if an Amicus Brief can be filed in support of the Appeal. Briefs will be filed in the name of individuals, not the organization, however.
Motion was made, seconded and approved to accept James Lawson as a new associate member.
Approval for Payment of Bills: No bills were submitted for payment.
The next meeting of the TBBSA will be August 26, 2002.