Senator Estes laid out a proposed committee substitute by Sen. Averitt for SB 3 the omnibus water legislation, which also includes a section with language identical to that in SB 675 designating 19 unique reservoir sites.
The proposed CSSB 3, as explained by Sen. Averitt, makes the following changes from the original bill:
(1) It substitutes the language of HB 3 the environmental flows legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House two weeks ago for the original Article 1 of SB 3 (there were only minor differences, however, between the House and Senate language on environmental flows, so this is not a major change).
(2) It adds additional language on voluntary land stewardship for watershed management to Article 2 of the bill (This additional language was requested by the Texas Wildlife Association and is supported by Sierra Club it merely strengthens the endorsement of voluntary land stewardship on the part of landowners as an important way of protecting and enhancing water supplies.).
(3) It removes for the time being at least language regarding the registration and reporting of water transactions (Sen. Averitt said that this language still needed some work.).
(4) It drops the proposed revision in voting arrangements for the groundwater management area (GMA) joint planning groups that would have allowed multi-county groundwater districts to cast the number of votes reflecting the number of counties in their respective districts.
(5) It revises the language on standards and requirements for (lawn & shrub) irrigation systems and installers.
Articles 3, 4, and 5 of CSSB 3 are unchanged from the introduced version. This means, of course, that the language on designation of unique reservoir sites is still in the bill.
Senator Hegar laid out a proposed amendment to CSSB 3 that would require an entity constructing a reservoir to enter into a purchase of development rights agreement (instead of acquisition or management of property) for mitigation of the adverse environmental effects from construction or operation of reservoirs or related facilities.
The amendment would require the development rights to be held by a land trust and would require the mitigation to be done if practicable within the area of the regional water planning group recommending the reservoir. The amendment was left pending.
Senator Eltife laid out a proposed amendment to CSSB 3 that would do a number of things related to any designations of unique reservoir sites including putting a time limit on the designation if the entity planning to pursue the reservoir does not undertake certain actions with a specific time period and providing some measure of compensation for any loss of property value associated with the reservoir site designation.
This amendment was also left pending.
Senator Eltife indicated that he had other amendments that he would propose at the next meeting (March 15).
Senator Averitt indicated that the Committee would vote on CSSB 3 at this next Committee meeting. CSSB 3 was left pending.
Report prepared by Ken Kramer, Director,
Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club 3/14/2007