SAWS got a well deserved spanking yesterday at the Natural Resources Committee hearing, using public dollars for water and wallet grabs.
URGENT calls needed through Friday!
Both public (@SAWS) and private partners of the Vista Ridge/San Antone Hose got a wake up call yesterday at the Natural Resources Committee hearing on House Bill 1066. Judith McGeary, Milam County landowner and Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA), came to ask for these modest amendments in the bill to prevent the rules from being changed midstream, and to guarantee what Gov. Abbott's veto in 2017 of the very same bill asked for -- a public process.
And despite claims that the bill is for the benefit of groundwater districts, the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District, which permitted Vista Ridge years ago, sent this letter opposing it!
HB 1066 provides that export permits must be extended without a public hearing in order to match up to the permittee’s operating permit. For Vista Ridge, that would mean a 10-year extension – which Vista Ridge has been asking happen immediately.
Texas Legislature Online's description of 1066 is: "Relating to extensions of an expired permit for the transfer of groundwater from a groundwater conservation district." Follow this link for more: TLO on HB 1066
LIV volunteer representative, James Murphy, Esq., a self-described 30-year Texas water bureaucrat, lambasted the "consultants" (lobbyists) at SAWS pushing for a handout to the private partners of Vista Ridge through HB 1066. Murphy's 3-minute testimony is well worth reading here. Here's but one choice Murphy quote:
The harsh reality is that planning for environmentally sustainable sources of regional water supply has taken a back seat to the need of private investors for a source of long-term tax and ratepayer backed revenue to add to their portfolios. The Conservation Amendment (to the Texas Constitution) is ignored and buried while Austin based consultants, many of whom I’ve known personally for decades, have hijacked the State Water Plan and replaced with a plan predicated on diverting fresh groundwater from rural and agricultural uses employing as many separate well fields and pipelines as local municipalities can be persuaded to pay for.
- Call your state rep and state senator no later than 5 pm Friday! Ask them to file these two groundwater reform bills; The Sustainable Groundwater Development Act and The LCRA Reform bill. Visit our new Water Bills 2019 page here.
- Ask your legislators to reach Natural Resource Committee Chairman, Rep. Lyle Larson, to urge amendments to HB 1066 already suggested at the hearing by McGeary and Murphy.
Watch the video of 35-minutes of testimony here starting at 1:24:27. LIV San Antonio Board Member, Ellen Berky, helped continue the spanking for SAWS ratepayers. Stan Mitchell of San Antonio Making Bureaucracies Accountable (SAMBA) was allowed to submit this testimony and back up information into the record, though not allowed to speak. BTW, first termer, Rep. Ramos (D-Dallas) asked great questions.
Thanks to you all who came, watched and are catching up today on the Our Land, Our Water, Our Democracy Lobby Day yesterday!
Make those calls, y'all. Gridzilla is no conspiracy, she's just a cartoon to make our point about water grabbing lobbyists, public and private.