This is the most important ACTION ALERT of this session!
Send this letter to Governor Greg Abbott ASAP--- HB 1066 is on his desk.
SAWDF is joined in asking for the Governor's veto of HB 1066 by the groups listed at the bottom of this ALERT.
By the way, Sen. Kirk Watson and Sen. Charles Schwertner were the only two senators who voted NO for us on this House bill in the Senate.
Email the below letter--- with any personalized message you choose -- to the Governor by going to this website: https://gov.texas.gov/contact --- select "I want to share my opinion" and fill in the blanks (select "Water issues"). Copy and paste the letter into the "Comment" box --- you should get a confirmation of receipt within 5 minutes, if not, send it again!
Here are the Telephone #'s for the Governor's office if you want to call ~~~
(800) 843-5789 - Information and Referral Hotline (for Texas callers)
(512) 463-1782 - Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline
(for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers)
(512) 463-2000 - Office of the Governor Main Switchboard
(office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST)
May 16, 2019
Dear Governor Abbott:
I am writing to ask you to veto HB 1066, which passed on May 10.
HB 1066 follows California’s model: whittling away public participation and oversight of groundwater projects to promote exploitation of water resources.
California has been left with catastrophic consequences to its agriculture industry and to its urban residents due to lowered groundwater levels; degradation of water quality; land subsidence; and depletion of interconnected surface water. Texas should learn from this example, not follow it.
HB 1066 creates risky policies for the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer in Lee, Burleson, Milam, and Bastrop counties.
The bill strips the public’s right to a hearing on extending permits for transferring groundwater. It is aimed at silencing landowners and rural communities who object to mega-project raids on their water supplies. Projects like San Antonio’s Vista Ridge Project, slated to begin exporting Burleson County groundwater over 130 miles to San Antonio in 2020, will deplete the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and its Simsboro formation, threaten rural Texas communities’ economic future, and deprive landowners of their property rights. At the other end of the pipeline, ratepayers are saddled with hugely expensive water – in the case of Vista Ridge, the most expensive groundwater in Texas.
You vetoed almost identical legislation last session because it hindered public participation in groundwater permitting:
“House Bill 2378 would have essentially mandated that export permits issued by groundwater conservation districts be extended indefinitely. An indefinite permit hinders the public from participating in the decision-making of the groundwater conservation district. It does not, however, prevent the groundwater conservation district from changing the terms of the permit unilaterally, a power House Bill 2378 continues to allow these districts to exercise. Excluding the public, potentially in perpetuity, from the decisions of a groundwater conservation district will reduce transparency and inhibit the district’s ability to respond to changed circumstances over time. The next Legislature should consider legislation that accomplishes the goals of House Bill 2378 without its defects.”
Please do not subject Texas to California’s fate of trying to recover from decades of over-pumping its groundwater!
Texans— rural, urban and suburban— are counting on you to protect our rights and our aquifers, and prevent unnecessary rate hikes.
Please, veto this legislation.
SAWDF is joined in asking for the Governor's veto by this coalition of organizations with whom we collaborate, and we thank them for their hard work at the Legislature for the benefit of all --- SAWDF is especially appreciative to Andrew Wier, SAWDF board member, for all his excellent work this session. Remember, we are all volunteers at SAWDF, and legislative activities are especially demanding and stressful. Thank you, Andy, and all other SAWDF supporters who step up!
(See the next NEWS blog for SAWDF's media release sent out May 16 to local and state media.a0