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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Photo by Christy Williams campaign
Thursday, November 5, 2020 by Jo Clifton
Williams ends Larsen’s tenure at aquifer district
In her first race for office, Christy Williams defeated longtime Board Member Bob Larsen, winning a seat on the board of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. Williams, who serves on the city’s Water and Wastewater Commission and is an environmental scientist by occupation, won the seat with nearly 76 percent of the vote.
Williams will be sworn in at the board’s next meeting on Nov. 12. Contacted Wednesday, Larsen, who has served in the Precinct 4 position since 2002, told the Austin Monitor that he wishes the best for Williams.
Dan Tickens, another newcomer to the board, ran unopposed in Precinct 1, as did Precinct 3 incumbent Blake Dorsett. Both will be sworn in for the new term along with Williams.
It is likely that Williams’ environmental credentials, as well as endorsements from Clean Water Action, the Travis County Democratic Party, the Sierra Club and the Austin Environmental Democrats played a decisive role in her election. While aquifer district board members do not run with party labels, stories in both the Monitor and The Austin Chronicle made clear that Williams was the Democrat in the race.
The Chronicle pointed out that Larsen was the only board member to vote against the district joining a lawsuit challenging the route of the Kinder Morgan Permian Highway Pipeline.
Williams said Wednesday she will be meeting with Board President Blayne Stansberry to get up to speed on district business. Part of that business involves overpumping by the Onion Creek Country Club, which owes the district more than $85,000. The country club had endorsed Larsen, and the Chronicle noted that Larsen was the only board member to oppose denying the club a renewal permit.
Williams said a future agenda will include consideration of some large permit requests that are being contested.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District: An entity charged with oversight of a portion the Edwards Aquifer. Groundwater Conservation Districts are established through Texas State legislative approval, under a state law first approved in the 1950s. According to its web site, the BSEACD's charge is "to conserve, protect, and enhance the groundwater resources in its jurisdictional area."