FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 15, 2015
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.