Well, Well, Well
Texas Tribune and 'Statesman' feud over water story
By Richard Whittaker, 1:59PM, Tue. Nov. 12, 2013
It's daggers lightly drawn between the Austin American-Statesman and the Texas Tribune today, with bragging rights for breaking the story that wealthy Travis County residents are drilling water wells on their property.
So who was it? The Statesman? The Tribune? Or some mysterious third publication?
On Sunday, Tribune reporters Jay Root and Neena Satija co-authored the article "In Drought, Abbott Keeps Lawn Green by Drilling" about the explosion in rich West Austin residents tapping into the water on their grounds, and its impact on the Edwards Aquifer.
But lo! Yesterday afternoon the Statesman's AASInvestigates Twitter feed blasted out about "The Texas Tribune's familiar story on private well drilling and Greg Abbott."
Familiar how? Follow their link and Statesman reporter Eric Dexheimer praises the Tribune for "an excellent story this weekend." He continues, "We thought it was such a good story, in fact, that we broke it nearly a year and a half ago." The Statesman then provides a link and, yup, in June 2012 they ran a story entitled "More Austinites drilling private wells to water lawns." In it, reporter Dave Harmon interviewed well-drilling firm Bee Cave Drilling about the explosion in rich West Austin residents tapping into the water on their grounds, and its impact on the Edwards Aquifer.
Cue the sound of Texas journos ripping open microwave popcorn and waiting for two news institutions to throw down.
But hang on. Bee Cave Drilling. Why does that name sound familiar? Oh, yes, because reporter Ramon Martinez interviewed their staff for the Chronicle's article "The Law(ns) of the Land" about hang on, that can't be right ... the explosion in rich West Austin residents tapping into the water on their grounds, and its impact on the Edwards Aquifer. Wait, now this must be wrong. He wrote that in July 2011?
For those of you interested (and considering how regularly this story keeps bubbling back to the surface, that will be a lot of you), our own Amy Smith has written a major piece on the developments in this story since we first wrote about it two years ago. Pick up this week's issue, hitting news stands Thursday, and read it.