The Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District voted on Wednesday to allow oilman and land baron Dan Allen Hughes to proceed with his multimillion dollar project, called Agua Grande.

 “We’ve dug our heels in for six months,” said Blaine Saathoff, the effort’s chief operations officer and a petroleum engineer for Dan A. Hughes Co. “We’re very excited.”

Ranchers, farmers, residents and environmentalists have protested the application vigorously, packing a June hearing, sending the district dozens of letters and again arguing on Wednesday that the project could steal water from cattle and crops, or dry up the famous spring-fed pool at nearby Balmorhea State Park… Read more from the Houston Chronicle