Please act on this information and also ask others to call for Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s help on four bills.
As the chair of the Senate Administration Committee, Sen. Kolkhorst is uniquely positioned to impact legislation that is nearing approval by both the House and Senate. Her committee’s action on bills at this stage can determine their fate -- do they go to the Senate floor for final passage, back to the House for further work or nowhere? Sen. Kolkhorst of course represents several of our central Texas counties but she also has state-wide impact in her role as Chairman. She also serves on the Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee, which still has a role to play in groundwater legislation this session.
Please reach Sen. Kolkhorst’s office at 512.463.0118. Call anytime and leave a message if no one picks up the phone. Again, please convey your concerns about these four pieces of legislation.
Please ask Senator Kolkhorst to:
1. Prevent HB 2378 from being amended to make it any easier for the water marketers to have perpetual export permits for our groundwater.
HB 2378 does make groundwater export permits automatically renewable, in sync with the permit to produce the water, but it also preserves existing law that at least allows our groundwater districts some ability to scrutinize the permits periodically. Amending the bill to take away that power or other authority over exports, would further pave the way for draining our aquifers for mass conveyance to distant growth areas --- it's the Gridzilla of pipelines we can't afford in Texas. HB 2378 is not an ideal bill by any means, and we are still opposed to it; however, even groundwater districts failed to oppose it, and it seems inevitable to pass if it gets to the Senate floor. Tell Senator Kolkhorst you oppose the bill but at least, don't let it be further amended by the water marketing lobbies.
2. Support the passage of HB 3735 with no amendments.
The bill requires TCEQ (Texas Commission for Environmental Quality) to continue to issue surface water permits that are consistent with the state and regional water plans. Bad surface water bills have a way of producing bad groundwater bills in future sessions. Our District 17 State Rep. John Cyrier went to bat when the League asked him to help restore the good parts of this bill in the House. Now it’s in the Senate, where Senator Kolkhorst must help in her committee to preserve it again, as is, on its way to final passage.
3. Do all she can to get a hearing this Thursday in Senator Perry’s Ag, Water and Rural Affairs Committee for Rep. Eddie Lucio’s critically important HB 3166, and to vote it out of Committee and on to the Senate floor.
His bill requires “modeled sustainable groundwater pumping” to be considered in the adoption of desired future conditions in groundwater conservation districts. We need this bill to counter the race to drain our aquifers!
4. Hold up SB 1198 in her committee, to wait for next session.
There is no reason, now, to turn the Hays-Caldwell Public Utility Agency into a regional water authority. A regional authority with eminent domain and the power to finance mass conveyance projects is too big a move at this time, lacks support from local and regional citizens, and hands the power to condemn private property over to yet another entity that does not have landowner and ratepayer interests at heart.
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Thank you, independent Texans!