Archive for May, 2015

Gridzilla wounded Memorial Day…

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

We were watching out for you as the Legislature remained in session throughout the holiday.godzilla-1954_3

We need you to make two phone calls as early as pssible today, Tuesday, first to your State Senator and second, to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Ask them simply to remember future generations by protecting our most precious resource and saying no to a Trans-Texas Water Highway. Find your Senator here. Contact the Lt. Gov. here.

What happened while they figured you weren't watching:  

Two attempts were made by Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, to revive "Gridzilla", the water market and conveyance study, after he failed to move her out of a Senate Committee. These attempts failed, thanks to you and those who led the opposition -- Representatives David Simpson, R-Longview, Tracy King, D-Uvalde and Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches.

Gridzilla has been severely wounded, but she's still got some life in her as she crawls back to the Senate where she could be attached to another bill. Which one, we don't really know, and we may not know until it's too late to alert you.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 11.57.51 PMThere was a remarkable floor fight tonight on Rep. Simpson's bill, HB 632, that would clarify the rights of so-called "donor" communities to consent to having their water transferred to other areas. Though Simpson's effort to save HB 632 failed, the vote was a clear indication that House members are getting the drift. As Simpson put it, "We're not going to support a Trans-Texas Corridor style water highway." The vote was 77 to 59 with a number of urban and rural reps standing with Simpson. Unofficial vote here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 3.40.40 PMIt should not go without saying that we are doing all we can to remember -- and honor -- those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by continuing to fight for future generations.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Defend Your Water Lee & Bastrop Counties!

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Watson-1If you live in Bastrop County, please call your State Senator Kirk Watson at 512-463-0114. It's an emergency. Ask friends to call in, too. Or email him at kirk.watson@senate.state.tx.us and his chief of staff, Sarah.Howard@senate.state.tx.us asap.

If you are in Lee County, tell Sen. Watson you are affected by his actions because we share a groundwater district. You might want to copy your Senator  lois.kolkhorst@senate.state.tx.us and her chief of staff, Chris.steinbach@senate.state.tx.us, or call her to tell her you are urging Sen. Watson to act on these bills at 512-463-0118.
 
Tell Sen. Watson he needs to stand up for Bastrop County and its Lost Pines Groundwater Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 10.07.31 PMConservation District by helping to get HB 3163 and HB 3116 added to the Senate's Local and Consent Calendar ASAP. Tell him he needs to assure passage of these important bills for his constituents in Bastrop County. The bills are critical to assisting our groundwater district to do their job of protecting the water resources of Bastrop and Lee counties.

SHOW UP WEDNESDAY!

Please show up this Wednesday night at 7 pm at the Bastrop Convention Center. This is the end of the line for the battle between End Op LP and Aqua Water concerning End Op's permit demand for 56,000 acre-feet/year, now 46,000 AFY. That's 41 million gallons per day. This is a legal hearing, so citizen communication is not on the agenda. However, the Lost Pines GCD Board may take action on this mega-permit. Therefore, your presence is important and is our statement.

Got questions? Call or email us! Thank you!

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Larson headed off at the pass…keep after him!

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.50.20 PMWith the help of our heroes today, Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) and Tracy King (D-Ulvalde) – we cut Rep. Lyle Larson off at the pass today. Larson was forced to pull down his amendment in attempt to slip Gridzilla through the House on Senate Bill 1301.

But, hold on to your horses. Rep. Larson is looking for another vehicle to attach his bill to as early as THIS Sunday.

So…what can you do?

  • Call your State Representative and your State Senator’s offices in Austin on Saturday to urge them NOT to support any California-style water pipeline system that would drain rural Texas and help developers continue building in areas without their own local water supply.
  • You can also ask your friends to do the same.
  • Find Your State Rep and Senator here -- now keep after him, y'all!

We will have our regular Saturday conference call at 9 am tomorrow to update you on the status of all our work on legislation. If you need the number, please send an email to info@independentleaguetx.org or call us at 512-213-4511.

Don't let these deperados get away with it -- our water, our wallets or our petition rights!

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Call or email tonight! Gridzilla is back!

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.50.20 PMFriday, May 22: Friends -- since the message below was posted last night, we won on this one round. Now, Rep. Larson is attempting to attach Gridzilla to another bill that could be voted on this weekend. Therefore, please keep your calls going to your State Representative -- that you just want Gridzilla, to go away!

This message went out on Thursday, May 21: Gridzilla (HB 3298/SB 1907) is back! Yes, that's right. We told you yesterday that the bill's sponsors, Rep. Lyle Larson (San Antonio) and Sen. Charles Perry (Lubbock), had taken some of our concerns and revamped Gridzilla. This was apparently a "prevarication" -- a fancy word for lie.

We just got this letter from enduring grassroots activist from Waller County, Martha Estes, to her State Representative, Cecil Bell:

Dear TX Representative Bell:

TODAY Representative Larson (R-San Antonio) used a BAIT and SWITCH tactic in “adding an amendment” to Senate Bill 1301, which transforms it into a study of a statewide water marketing and transfer system at a time when so many bills are being heard in the House facing an imminent deadline.
 
It had been a simple bill to reduce the number of directors of the Texas Water Resources Finance Authority from 6 to 3.
 
Apparently many representatives didn't even realize what the amendment was, and it passed overwhelmingly!!
 
My request of you, when this comes up for a final vote in the HOUSE tomorrow, is to refuse to approve it unless Representative Larson's amendment is stripped out.

As a body I believe that you should resent Rep. Larson's attempt to "pull a fast one" on the TX House members and slip this by you.

If he cannot do it in a forthright manner he should not resort to trickery! It represents an insult to the process of deliberating the serious mandates before the members of the Texas House.

At my age, having observed many generations of Texas legislators at work, I have no respect for such actions when the results can impact generations to come.

Honorable behavior matters! Hold him accountable to a higher standard.

Cut him off at the pass!!
Matha Estes, Hempstead, TX

TAKE ACTION Y'ALL.
Write your own letter or call your Rep & Senator 
tonight (you can leave a message anytime) or tomorrow before high noon!

Find your State Representative and Senator here.

Call your State Representative and your Senator to urge him or her to vote NO on SB 1301 unless the water marketing amendment is stripped out.

If you prefer email to phone calls, you can email your legislators using this formula:

Representative: Firstname.Lastname@house.state.tx.us
Senator: Firstname.Lastname@senate.state.tx.us 
If you use email, keep your subject line short and clear: "Oppose SB 1301's water marketing amendment"

Got questions? Call us. Don't let them get away with it -- and your water or your affordability, Texans!

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Here’s the deal, no deals…yet

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

As we move into the final phase of the legislative session, with adjournment on June 1, fef689c6-b4d8-4b7b-ad0c-a5b5b79aca96here's all we know and what you can do -- please!

Senate Bill 474, Sen. Lois Kolhorst & Rep. Cindy Burkett, Eminent Domain Reform -- giving landowners attorney fee reimbursement when low-balled by condemning authorities by 20%. Though the bill passed the Senate, it's been languishing for 6 weeks in Rep. Joe Deshotel's House Committee -- Land and Resource Management.  Deshotel's hearing was an absolute travesty as a herd of lobbyists came to make scurrilous claims that the sky would fall if this bill passed. Deshotel demanded no evidence whatsoever in light of the fact that 25 states have similar laws.

We are now officially on the warpath to get SB 474 out of the House Committee on Land and Resource Management.


Please call Rep. Joe Deshotel at (512) 463-0662
. Tell Joe to move the bill -- no four letter words, please -- but do tell him how you feel.

House Bill 3298: We have seen some good amendments of "Gridzilla", Rep. Lyle Larson's $2M study for conveyance and marketing of water to SA, Austin and DFW). BUT, we still have big objections to Gridzilla which does not yet include:

  • Evaluation of conservation efforts by cities, industries and other users who will be getting water from the grid, to reduce their demand for water --- we want to use conservation, first, to reduce demand.
  • Evaluation of the long-term economic, environmental and social impacts of the communities whose water will used for the grid.

Please call your Senator and tell her/him that we want Gridzilla amended to include conservation and impacts on so-called "donor" communities, or to slay Gridzilla! Find your Senator here.

House Bill 2595 -- Rep. Keffer & Sen. Fraser's anti-petition rights bill. We brought together a rarely seen coalition of forces last minute to deep-six this horrible bill in the Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee yesterday. If HB 2595 doesn't die in committee, it's pretty clear to us that there will be political consequences! Watch the testimony here, starting at 1:43:01 then here at the beginning.

Keep after your Senators to bury HB 2595, just in case it comes out of committee. Find your Senators here.

HOT OFF THE PRESS! We just received this request from our friends in Hays County:

FRIENDS: IT IS TIME WE SEND A MESSAGE TO OUR STATE SENATORS AND I'VE MADE IT VERY EASY FOR YOU TO DO SO.
We need to make sure OUR voices are heard and that our elected officials protect our LOCAL interests, not their special interests in other counties.
Even though HB 3405 (as it was originally written) has an OVERWHELMING amount of support in Hays County, one Senator, from 350 miles away has attempted to amend this bill so that it no longer serves the purpose our representatives intended. This local bill was originally designed to protect private property owners rights and our groundwater using valid SCIENCE as opposed to fear mongering and emotion. Now, with Senator Perry's amendments, it does no such thing.
WE NEED TO MAKE SURE OUR VOICES ARE HEARD LOUD AND CLEAR.
We must ensure that ONE Senator from Lubbock does not undermine legislation which is WIDELY supported in OUR county.
Please fill out this online petition, then share it far and wide...
Just follow this link: http://goo.gl/forms/UQPO8xVUKq

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Sorry, but you need to know this.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Just after you received yesterday's email, we found out that the anti-petitioln rights bill Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 4.18.06 PM(HB 2595) is having a hearing on Tuesday, anytime after 9 am.

This video clip has then Sen. Dan Patrick standing up for the "grassroots" right to petition in 2009. (Austin real estate developer and whistle blower, Brian Rodgers, talks so fast, he had the bill sponsor, Jeff Wentworth, reeling.)

Our conference call today had folks from all corners -- tea party, greens, libertarians and government reformers -- agreeing to work together to protect our petition rights (NO on HB 2595), and putting a stop to the water grabs (NO on HB 3298) and emiment domain abuse (YES on SB 474).

DO THIS PLEASE:

Contact the "top dog" of the Senate, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, anytime night or day, including this weekend at: LTGConstituent.Affairs@ltgov.state.tx.us or call his comment line at (512) 463-5342.

Suggested message: "My name is ________ I live in _________. I'm asking you to kill House Bill 2595 to protect our petition rights, and to kill House Bill 3298 to protect our water rights. Conserve first, convey later."

Contact the Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee here to kill the water Gridzilla, HB 3298.

Contact the Natural Resources Committee here to kill HB 2595 to protect your petition rights.

Call your individual State Senator with the same message. They have voice mail at their individual offices in Austin. Find your State Senator here.

Schedule for Monday and Tuesday at the Capitol
Come join us, y'all!

MONDAY:

  • 10 am    Meet at the Capitol Grill, E1.1002. (Come in the main Capitol and ask for directions). We will get you fact sheets and update you, then set up teams to go visit legislators before these hearings begin.
  • 2+ pm?  HB 3298 (Gridzilla) is on the Ag Committee Agenda but towards the end. Rm. E1.012. Come sign up against the bill at a kiosk or testify. We'll help you.
  • 2 pm - Support SB 474 for eminent domain reform. SB 474 Hearing notice. Rm. E2.016. Reach House members this committee and your own Texas house member. Come sign up for the bill at a kiosk or testify. We will help you. It's already passed the Senate.

TUESDAY:

  • 9 am - Sign in against House Bill 2595 to protect your petition rights. Come testify! Rm. E1.012. Notice here.

Spread the word -- we may not agree on much, but on these things Texans are uniting!

Got questions? Just ask.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Going to the Top Dog – Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

This legislative session ends on June 1. Until then, your land, water and even your right to 9ipEjoAiEpetition, are up for grabs OR reform. Translation: It's up to YOU, Texans!

We need your help to set the bulldog loose on two bad bills ("Gridzilla" - HB 3298 & the anti-petition bill, HB 2595) & to PASS a GOOD bill on eminent domain - SB 474 by reaching the TOP DOG -- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. More below.

Here's what you can do:

  • Email or call Lt. Governor Dan Patrick by clicking here.  Note: Dan Patrick supports property and petition rights, just ask him to oppose HB 2595 (anti-petition rights), to oppose HB 3298 (the statewide water "gridzilla") and to support SB 474 for eminent domain reform.
  • Please, if at all possible, come to Austin on Monday before 2 pm hearings can begin on "Gridzilla" AND eminent domain reform.  Click these links for details on the bills & hearing info: for HB 3298 and here for SB 474. We will also visit Senate offices on HB 2595 to stop any notions of erasing our petition rights.
  • Join the conference call tomorrow at 9 am sharp for one hour -- here's the number (530) 881-1000, PIN106940#. We will have new updates by then.

If you can't make the call email us, call us or send us or otherwise git along you little dogies and do some herding to get your friends and family to do the same.

We were remiss in not congratulating Calvin Tillman on his election to the Aubrey City Council. Calvin is our most famous board member.!

PS This is one of those rare, but historic moments, when all forces come together for the few things we agree on.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

Release: Trans-Texas Water Grid Forging Unlikely Coalitions

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 15, 2015

Contacts: 
Linda Curtis, Independent Texas, Info@independentleaguetx.org, 512.657.2089
Eleanor Bravo, Food & Water Watch, ebravo@fwwatch.org, 505.730.8474

Trans-Texas Water Grid (HB 3298) Forging Unlikely Coalitions
Calling on Texas Senators to Reject Boondoggle Water Project

Austin, TX -- The Texas Senate is preparing to consider a bill on Monday that could pave the way for a boondoggle water conveyance project. House Bill 3298 drew refreshing bipartisan opposition in the House before its passage last week. A broad coalition urges Senators to stand with leaders like Republican Dennis Bonnen of Angleton and Democrat Rafael Anchia of Dallas to oppose the bill.

House Bill 3298, which calls for a $2 million study on the development of a market and conveyance network for water in Texas – a water highway of sorts – appears to be stirring unconventional political alliances not seen since the populist uprising against the Trans-Texas Corridor that went down to defeat in the 2007 legislative session.

“Back in 2003, only two House members voted against the enabling legislation for the Trans-Texas Corridor, Republican Terry Keel and Democrat Lon Burnam", said Linda Curtis, a founder of the League of Independent Voters of Texas. “It took citizens four years to build a massive cross-partisan movement to stop the land grab with an independent voter revolt. Today, we have perhaps an even bigger fight to stop this water grab, but at least we’re starting with 32 House members who did the right thing on one or both of the votes supporting a state water grid.”

Ken Kramer of the Lone Star Sierra Club said, “House Bill 3298’s companion bill, Senate Bill 1907, stalled earlier in the Senate thanks to an informal grassroots coalition of farmers, landowners, environmentalists and political independents. That same coalition is now mobilizing to fight HB 3298 in the Senate.” Kramer is a leader on conservation and water policy in Texas.

“This issue unites people from both ends of the political spectrum because of a simple fact: water is a basic necessity,” said Judith McGeary, a farmer and founder of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.  “If the Legislature uses water transfers to try to disguise unsustainable uses, they’re sacrificing agriculture, the environment, and our economic future.”

"The right solution to water scarcity isn't pumping water around Texas and creating new water markets,” adds Eleanor Bravo, Southwest Organizer for Food & Water Watch. “It's ending the industrial misuse of water whether it's in hydraulic fracturing or water intensive agriculture in areas with little water."

####

HB 3298 will be heard in the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee on Monday at 2 pm.

Recorded HB 3298 on Third Reading can be viewed here.

Share on Google+Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook