February 3, 2011:
Conservation Advisory Council at Risk
At least one state legislator has indicated that he will try to eliminate the state's Water Conservation Advisory Council during the regular session of the 82nd Texas Legislature, now in progress. This move might be made through a “stand-alone” piece of legislation, a provision in or amendment to the Texas Water Development Board “sunset” bill (the Council receives staff support from the Board), or elimination of funding for the Council in the appropriations bill for state agencies (the financial support for the Council is only about $80,000 a year). The Sierra
Club strongly supports continuation of the Council, whose work is important to meeting state water needs, and urges others to do so as well.
...Read the full story...
National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club
Release Groundwater Statement
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and the
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club have released
a position statement on “Ground
Water Legislation in the 82nd Texas Legislature.” The position statement
was prompted by the introduction in the Texas Senate
of SB 332 by Sen. Troy
Fraser, which would establish a “vested
ownership right in groundwater.” (An
excellent overview of SB 332 is provided on the
Hill Country Alliance website at: http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/HCA/SB332.)
Similar legislation is expected to be introduced
in the Texas House. Apparently one of the reasons
for the introduction of this legislation is to initiate
discussion and dialogue on groundwater ownership,
an issue currently before the Texas Supreme Court. NWF
and Sierra Club “ welcome a healthy
debate and discussion of the ground water rights
issue, but …oppose efforts to expand the current
ground water ownership doctrine” because the “proposed
expansion would cause great regulatory uncertainty
and expensive litigation.”...Read
the full story...
Water Legislation Starts to Flow in the
Texas House and Senate
Although not exactly streaming in yet, water legislation
is being filed in both the House and the Senate
on a variety of topics. Already the Lone
Star Chapter of the Sierra Club has over 50 water
and water-related bills in its tracking system for
this regular session of the 82 nd Texas Legislature.
Many of these are very limited in geographic area
and/or scope – and many do not have direct relationship
to the environment but deal with such things as
agency and water district procedures. Two important
water bills that have been introduced that are of
interest to the Sierra Club are SB 181 by Sen.
Florence Shapiro, which deals with the metrics
used to measure water use and water conservation,
and SB 449 by Senators
Craig Estes and Kirk Watson to allow a
property tax break for landowners who manage their
land to promote and sustain water quality and conservation (the
latter bill is accompanied by a proposed constitutional
amendment, SJR 16)....Read
the full story...
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Chapter of the Sierra Club reporting
on Texas environmental policy issues
of statewide interest.
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