The Rosanky Rural Alliance
Above is a piece of ranch land off of Jeddo Road that developers want to turn into a 2,000 acre solar farm. Thousands of trees would be bulldozed and burned, wildlife rerouted around miles of 8-foot high chainlink perimeter fencing, and longtime residents would have 750,000 solar panels to look at where cattle once grazed.
"They have no idea the level of anger and sense of betrayal felt by so so many."
- A Rosanky resident responding to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court
"That three million will be gone in a New York minute and these poor people have to look at this garbage the rest of their lives. Build your playground, buy your iPads and football helmets. Get those pet projects completed because we are already preparing candidates to replace three of you next year."
-A Rosanky resident responding to the SISD school board
Do you have a problem with the RWE "Renewables" Big Star Solar plant site? Noise, blowing dust, unsafe drivers, suspicious activity?
Commissioner Clara Beckett and County Judge Paul Pape want you to call them if you have any concerns.
• Pct. 2 Commissioner Clara Beckett: 512-988-1553
• Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape: 512-332-7201
You've Got to Know Your Enemies
Place 5 SISD Trustee
Place 6 SISD Trustee
Mike Davis Jr
Place 7 SISD Trustee
Who are the enemies? The first and easiest response is RWE "Renewables", Primoris Services Corporation, and Austin Energy. Those are the big three that are destroying 2,000 acres of previously unspoiled Rosanky farmland. As far as boogeymen go, they are your poster children.
But they wouldn't be screwing up Rosanky and southern Bastrop County if it hadn't been for the Smithville ISD school board, who voted (or didn't vote, in cowardly moves by Howard Burns and Nancy Towry) to approve the Chapter 313 tax bailouts for the RWE solar power plant.
The three "trustees" pictured above are up for re-election to their three-year terms in May 2022. RWE "Renewables" wouldn't have built their solar plant without the go-ahead from these SISD "trustees". Both Candice and Mike voted in favor of the tax bailouts — which will cost Texas schools and SISD millions in missed tax revenues over the next decade, and Howard — after initially promising Rosanky residents that he would vote against these tax bailouts — took the cowardly route and chose neither to vote for or against the tax breaks, rather, he tucked his tail and "abstained" from voting. In his delusional rationale, he likely thought that a non-vote would save him from the ire of Rosanky locals. He was wrong, and it was the dumbest thing he's done out of a lot of dumb things. I've attended SISD board meetings for 5 years, and many times I've heard Howard's idiocy from the dais as his fellow board members tried their best not to openly laugh at him. It's embarrassing.
As for Candice and Mike Jr., it's been a wonder why they are even on the school board. Meeting after meeting, neither one raises a hand to talk, and neither offer any debate or critique of anything that is considered before the board. They are silent, mindless votes, and one would be forgiven if they thought they weren't actually present on the board. Why be an elected official if you don't participate in the very board you are elected to? As for the RWE debate, many Rosanky residents rose to speak to these two, to convince them that granting the tax breaks was bad business, but they had already made their minds up without consulting any residents. That is poor representation by Candice and Mike Jr., and they have to be relieved of their duties.
Small town, uneducated school board members should not be in the position to authorize tens-of-millions of dollars in tax breaks for billion-dollar corporations who rape the land, but that's what the Texas Legislature granted them the power to do. However, the Legislature has finally come to their senses, and they are letting Chapter 313 tax bailouts expire at the end of 2022. Unfortunately, that's too late for Rosanky, as RWE slid by on this one with the clueless, ignorant votes (or non-votes) of the Three Smithville Stooges© above.
Candice, Mike Jr., and Howard voted for the destruction of 2,000 acres of Rosanky farmland, the disruption of so many lives of nearby property owners, plummeting property values, and if any serious accidents or deaths occur from the site — something that Primoris workers are very much trying to accomplish — the responsibility lies with these SISD "trustees".
The filing period to be on the ballot for the SISD Board of Trustees runs mid-January through mid-February. Election Day is May 7. If you want to change your school district — and by the actions of these three stooges, it ain't hard — file for a place on the ballot and RUN. Filing is free, and you don't have to spend much money on a campaign. The community of Rosanky will back you, and as we saw in last year's election, Rosanky likes to put candidates over the top.
Danger on Jeddo Road at the Big Star Solar plant
Dec. 8, 2021: More holiday cheer from Rosanky! Here's the scene from yesterday's incident out on Jeddo Road. One solar construction truck was run off the road by another, and workers for Primoris Services Corporation lied and said they had no idea where this truck full of bull rock was headed (they even lied to the law enforcement officer that responded!) Well, there's not another large-scale construction site for 20 miles, so what do you think? After the liars left, the sheriff's deputy parked to watch the scene unfold as the truck driver burned his wheels down to the steel belts, unaware that he really was stuck and wouldn't be going anywhere until an expensive tow truck arrived. Do you feel safe with the return of oil tanker trucks for the Koch pipeline facility right next to this incident? Can oil tankers and solar big rigs co-exist on this narrow road? Sure doesn't look like it. What happens when a Primoris worker runs an oil truck off the road and it spills its contents across the land? Who will be responsible for that calamity? Will they still deny responsibility?
This is the sound you get when your elected officials place profit over people
Dec. 2, 2021: Merry Christmas from Rosanky! This year, our Smithville school board gifted us with noise pollution for the entire holiday season (and more!) If you're considering a solar plant for YOUR county or neighborhood, take a listen to this racket and consider if you'd like it next to your community.
Majority of Smithville ISD Trustees Consider Rosanky Kids
Less Important than Smithville Kids
Would Smithville ISD board members Nancy Towry or Howard Burns want to place one of these signs, at their own expense, near their house because of dangerous solar plant construction? Nope. So why did they support RWE "Renewables" and their Chapter 313 tax breaks and bailout? It's obvious that Nancy and Howard don't consider Rosanky-area kids as worthy as Smithville students, and that's just plain sad. When they tell you they vote "For the Kids," just know that it's a lie.
Primoris Services Corporation hires illegal truck drivers who are arrested by Bastrop County Sheriff's Office
Since at least August, the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office has arrested multiple individuals driving 18-wheeler trucks headed into the Big Star Solar site, operated by Primoris Services Corporation. Primoris is aware that drivers have been arrested due to fake drivers licenses and registration, with many not having the proper documentation to work in America. Primoris is turning a blind eye to local safety measures and laws by continuing to employ the trucking outfit that is directing dangerous drivers to the Rosanky area. Primoris Services Corporation is cutting corners, which ultimately endangers the lives of innocent drivers and residents in Rosanky and Bastrop County.
"They didn't have any drivers license. They had Mexico ID cards."
That's the word from Maurice C. Cook Bastrop County Sheriff. He was our guest at the Rosanky Rural Alliance last Thursday where he filled us in on the recent arrests of illegal truck drivers that are working the Big Star Solar plant on Jeddo Road.
"One of them had a 2019 inspection sticker...and then of course they don't have a drivers license.... It's unforgivable for a trucking company to hire somebody that doesn't have a drivers license. That's not asking too much," said Sheriff Cook.
This has been going on for a while. Recall on Sept. 8 when we recorded several illegal trucks using Hofferek Road, and a couple of drivers stated that they knew very little English. Several drivers had already been arrested by that time, and the problem continues.
These trucks are coming from Hunter Stone near New Braunfels. Donna Trucking and LCR Total Transport LLC are the ones hiring these non-licensed truckers. And of course, Primoris Services Corporation is the local contractor at the Big Star Solar site that is continuing to turn a blind eye to this illegal activity. For a company that touts all the great things they do, they sure don't have a problem with cutting corners and endangering the communities in which they work in. Shame on you, Primoris, and RWE "Renewables" in general. We knew you wouldn't be any good when you came to town.
We call on the county judge to void the Chapter 312 tax break agreement with RWE due to this continuing problem. The contract states that public safety is a priority. Since Primoris Services Corporation is not following those guidelines, the contract should be cancelled and this farce halted until a more responsible contractor can be brought on board. And if not, that's cool, too.
Building a Better Austin by Bulldozing Rosanky
This time last year, we were getting news — though not voluntarily — that Rosanky was slated to be the site for a 2,000-acre solar plant. The county judge promised jobs for the area and painted a rosy picture. Funny enough, not one member on the commissioners court touted anything about Bastrop County being a sustainable leader in "green energy" because of this. It was all about the money, none of which would trickle down to the Rosanky area.
During an online meeting on Sept. 21 named "Building a Better Austin" conducted by Austin Energy, one of their leaders confirmed that there would be zero benefit of all of this new energy and the transient workers employed by RWE "Renewables" to the community of Rosanky, and to a larger extent, Bastrop County. Everything will benefit Austin as they continue to dump their unwanted infrastructure on neighboring counties.
“To your community in particular, I would say no.” said Scott Bayer, Head of Substation and Transmission Construction. The Wagon Wheel will sell some gas and hamburgers, but that's it. Rosanky won't even get the imagined benefit of this "green" energy, and landowners will continue to suffer through noise, unsafe drivers coming to and from the site, damaged roads, and plummeting property values.
He continued, “All generation in ERCOT is now basically socialized. Everything goes into the grid, and as people use it, it comes out. So people can contract for that particular chunk of power, but it's all done from business ledgers. The power itself, once it gets into the grid, it's not going to look any different than a gas generator or a nuclear generator or anything like that. All the power comes in, and all the power comes out of the grid and it's all accounted for from the metering standpoint. It'll be used throughout the ERCOT system.”
Now they're selling "socialized" energy? Isn't that something? You didn't hear the county judge or commissioners or school board mentioning that. Isn't a "socialized" anything an evil ploy by Democrat operatives to overthrow our very freedoms? You'd think that the Republican county judge, commissioners, and those on the SISD school board would have stood up to that. Rather, they caved to corporate interests and "socialized" energy that isn't even what it seems. What a big cowardly lie.
One year ago the battle began. We'll begin to replace those who brought us here during the elections in 2022. You wanna run? Here's the ammo you need.
And if you'd like to see what the coming construction on the power lines will look like, watch the video to get a short presentation by Austin Energy's high-line contractor Kiewit on how they'll be buzzing overhead in a few weeks.
Members of the Rosanky Rural Alliance set up on Hofferek Road on Sept. 9 to document trucks that were using the road illegally as they were traveling to the RWE "Renewables" Big Star Solar site. It was quite the show.
Primoris Services Corporation runs afoul of state environmental rules at their Big Star Solar industrial site
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has cited Primoris Services Corporation — the contractor for RWE "Renewables" on the Big Star Solar site — for numerous environmental infractions concerning stormwater runoff and silt discharge onto neighboring properties. Have a look at the report below.
Bastrop County Commissioners vote YES on RWE tax cut
Aug. 9 — The Bastrop County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 this morning to grant RWE "Renewables" their tax cuts as part of the Chapter 312 agreement that has long simmered in the courthouse. The lone vote against was Pct. 3 Commissioner Mark Meuth, who raised several important points before the final vote. For now, the solar plant continues while local residents deal with unsafe and illegal truckers, noise, pollution, blight, environmental destruction, and loss of taxable revenue.
We'd like to offer up a bit of reading to the Smithville ISD "trustees" that decided to side with the German-owned RWE "Renewables" over their longtime taxpaying Rosanky residents who actually work here and send their kids to their school district:
We understand that reading is not a strong point for several of these "trustees," which is ironic, since their job is to help create a more educated population starting at the school-age level. When these "trustees" say that they are in it "For the Kids," maybe they just mean their own children?
SISD Trustees Vote for Chapter 313
"A majority of the Smithville ISD Board of Trustees voted for profits over people at their June 21 meeting. After 3 hours of testimony with passionate input from Rosanky residents, multiple board members voted to allow RWE "Renewables" to continue their destruction and to allow them millions in dollars in tax breaks that will have to be repaid by Texas taxpayers.
"Voting FOR the Chapter 313 tax breaks were Candice Parsons, Chris Hinnant, and Mike Davis, Jr. Two board members — Howard Burns and Nancy Towry — publicly lied to Rosanky residents when they expressed strong opposition to the tax breaks, only to turn around and abstain from voting, which equaled a YES vote on the tax cuts. Voting AGAINST was Alan Hemphill. Board President Grant Gutierrez had previously announced his abstention, which was a bonafide conflict-of-interest.
"The Rosanky Rural Alliance is disappointed that these SISD Trustees view our community, its residents, and school children as nothing more than revenue generators for the operation of their schools. We will be seeking and supporting rural candidates to run against the three seats that will be up for election in 2022."
Area residents have been asking how much land is involved in the Big Star Solar project, how much RWE owns or leases, and where it is all located. The chart below is from the agreement between RWE "Renewables" and Bastrop County, located on their website. It shows acreage and the numeric location of the parcels and the addresses of the families who made agreements with RWE.
While RWE "Renewables" can be held directly responsible for this environmental destruction, their hired contractors, Primoris Services Corporation, are the ones pushing over trees and making life difficult for area landowners. You can thank them for bulldozing all the trees, burning them, and the endless hours of construction noise in this once quiet setting.
Primoris is known for installing chemical pipelines, so they're experts in fouling the land. On their website under the "Our Values" tab and the heading "Our Environmental Sustainability" is this line: "Protecting the environment and preserving resources for future generations is a priority. Primoris is committed to continually improving environmental performance in support of our long-term sustainability goals."
How can a corporation like this post a statement like that with a straight face? How can you protect the environment if you're burning all of the trees that used to grow there? You aren't doing a good job of trapping carbon and using "green" methods if you're pouring diesel fuel on those piles to get them lit. The black smoke that rises up from these are very telling.
Primoris has also adopted the term "Renewables" into their name when it suits their project. Do not be fooled, they are simply jumping on the "green energy" bandwagon while they can. The only thing they are looking to preserve is their bottom line.
And making sure that they are scraping the ground good enough is Austin Energy, who are wanting to adopt a "carbon neutral" position for the City of Austin. How can you have carbon neutrality if you're burning all of the trees? Do Austin Energy ratepayers know that their supposed "green" energy is coming from a 2,000-acre gravesite of century-old oak trees?
The above photos are from June 14, 2021. The destruction continues.
Here's what happens when a massive corporation moves in next to a homeowner and begins clearing the property without any environmental safeguards. Wouldn't you just enjoy a Mother's Day dip in this pool?
This neighbor is just across the north fence from the RWE "Renewables" site. The debris is a result of the destruction being wrought by Primoris Services Corporation, who are the contractors hired to bulldoze all those trees on the Big Star Solar plant site. So good to see that they are looking out for their neighbors and the environment!
This is the reason why the City of Austin Government and Austin Energy doesn't want any solar plants in Travis County or around their precious city. Can you imagine the uproar if pools in Westlake or Circle C looked like this? Austin Energy is allowing this to happen by partnering with RWE, and they are turning a blind eye to this, as well as the thousands of heritage trees that are being bulldozed and burned for the lie of "green energy." Because I guess it isn't green if you don't kill all the trees!
The owner of this pool has been instructed to contact the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to report this infraction.
This is yet another reason why we beg Smithville ISD to deny RWE their Chapter 313 tax breaks as soon as possible. It's the only way we can get these environmental destroyers out of our community.
The trees above were full of life when destruction began on the Virginia Watterson tract of RWE and Austin Energy's electrical substation site, as part of the proposed Big Star Solar power plant. The destruction began when large excavators came through and stripped these healthy, heritage trees of their limbs, preparing them to be cut at the ground. Below, the trees have been cleared and the earth is being moved and leveled for the Austin Energy substation. More cutting and destruction can be seen in the background. Piles of trees can be seen, waiting to be burned.
APRIL 28, 2021
Destruction began on the 206-acre Virginia W. Watterson tract on Cistern Road as crews moved in on March 1, 2021 to start the process of clearing the land for the proposed Austin Energy substation. Century-old oak trees were stripped of their limbs before they were cut for firewood. The remaining trunks were ground into the earth. This work is expected to cover over 1,100 acres and run at least 5 months. Note that this does not mean that the RWE tax breaks have been granted. This is not covered under the Bastrop County Tax Abatement and can continue at full blast without the tax agreement. Since RWE is leasing the land from the Watterson Trust (Scott Lane Miller, Timothy Ray Miller, 203 Shady Elm, Georgetown, Texas 78633), they are free to do whatever they want to the land prior any solar industrial construction agreements.
Are you experiencing blowing dust from the RWE/Big Star Solar tree-clearing event happening on Jeddo and Cistern roads?
Call the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality
Environmental Complaint Hotline:
Back in August 2020, locals began hearing that a massive $200 million, 1,700 acre solar generating facility was being planned for an area just south of the community of Rosanky. The only people who had been notified were the landowners who agreed to lease their farmlands, who were then contractually obligated to keep quiet on the details.
Slowly, neighbors found out about the major development happening just feet from their fences and back yards. Only after the "Big Star Solar" project began to ask our local governments for tax breaks — namely Bastrop County and Smithville ISD — did their intentions begin to see the light of day in public records. Applications for tax abatements as much as 100% were sent to the county commissioners and the school district. Only then did locals see the true intent of this development and what it would mean for resident's way of life.
In October 2020, locals began meeting to try and get more information from parent company RWE "Renewables" on what they intended to do with the land and what adjacent landowners could expect. After coming up short on real information, people decided to organize in opposition to the solar project.
Fighting hard to
Keep Rosanky Rural
"Renewable energy has good benefits, but giving away hard-earned local tax dollars is not fiscal conservatism or even a green new deal, it's corporate welfare at it's worst."
What do residents want?
FAMILY FARMS, NOT SOLAR FARMS.
It is obvious that RWE "Renewables" is interested in saving money and getting their project built with as little oversight as possible. Unfortunately for them, area residents aren't concerned with what RWE wants. Families live here that have settled and built dreams and are happy with our rural way of life. The thought that a multi-billion-dollar business plans to come in and upend this life is not acceptable. A good corporate neighbor interacts with adjacent land and homeowners. A good corporate neighbor conducts their deals in the light, with integrity. For RWE, there seems to be more darkness than light, which is ironic coming from a company that needs the sun. Trust has been lost, if it even existed in the first place.
A simple list of demands for RWE: Go away. We don't want you here.
• RWE "Renewables" is destroying close to 2,000 acres of native habitat and somewhere around 10,000 oak and pine trees, with a smattering of many others. How is this "renewable"?
• RWE "Renewables" has not initiated an environmental impact study on the wildlife and watersheds they plan to destroy. Neighbors don't know how the clear-cutting and erosion runoff will effect their lands.
• RWE "Renewables" contradicts themselves and offers zero facts or safeguards to neighbors. Information on their plan is not posted online, is not available in handouts, is not available at the county court, and by all accounts does not exist.
• RWE will sell their electricity to Austin Energy and will lease them land to build their electrical substation. None of this electricity is available to local customers; this is all for the City of Austin to look good for major corporations like Google, Apple, Oracle, and Tesla, who were promised "green energy" when they relocated to Austin. The City of Austin wants our land destroyed so that they can appear to be "carbon neutral" to these major corporations.
Our request for Bastrop County Commissioners and Smithville ISD Board of Trustees: VOTE NO on the RWE tax breaks.
• RWE states — IN WRITING — that the solar project will likely not be built if SISD does not grant them Chapter 313 tax breaks. Call their bluff! SISD has nothing to lose, only extra tax dollars to gain if RWE does decide to build without their tax breaks. SISD is not a poor district, and if RWE leaves, the district will not suffer any loss of revenue.
• Bastrop County will gain more tax dollars if they vote NO on their Chapter 312 tax breaks to RWE. At this point, the county is negotiating with RWE on a list of items to help landowners, the county, and SISD, such as further setbacks from property lines of their 750,000 solar panels, a one-time infusion of dollars into the Precinct 2 road and bridge fund, and a one-time donation of $10,000 to Smithville's FFA program. BUT, locals don't care! This will not give them back their peace and quiet. Any donations by RWE are considered hush money and folks would just rather them hit the road than give out meaningless mitigations for their land-destruction schemes. If RWE plans to build, hit them with the maximum tax rate and use that money to fix Jeddo Road.
• Per the Bastrop County Appraisal District, RWE has closed on and owns a parcel of land in the proposed solar development area. Two things are likely: They plan to build no matter what, OR, they will sell the land if the tax breaks are denied. To SISD: this means that RWE plans to build no matter what, so no need for a tax break. Tax them at the full dollar amount and let the district reap the rewards. OR, deny them the tax break and let them sell the land, which will likely sell for more than they bought it for, thus even more tax dollars for SISD. It's a win-win with an added value of showing locals that you stood up for their property rights!
• Stand up for local residents with long-held property rights and tax payment histories to Bastrop County and SISD. VOTE NO on the foreign corporation that merely wants to make a quick buck for themselves and the City of Austin. This solar farm will instantly start devaluing — much as a new car depreciates as soon as it drives off of the lot. Tax dollars produced by this solar farm will be worthless before the half-life of this project comes along, and even more so as solar values drop. It's just not worth it!
We are not opposed to solar power. This is not an opposition to renewable energy. This is an opposition against tax breaks for a wealthy corporation — also known as corporate welfare — who looks to move in to our area uninvited and clear-cut thousands of native oak and pine trees in the name of "green energy." We do not wish for this project — which was brought to this area by Austin Energy — to be the first in a line of infrastructure that is dumped here because Travis County deems it undesirable. We will not allow for the destruction of our lands so that big-city elites can have their carbon-neutral footprint.