League of Independent Voters of Texas
 

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

6:00 am, April 27, 2015

CONTACT: Linda Curtis, (512) 657-2089, ljcurtis@indytexans.org

HEAD:  California Water Model Comes to Texas Senate

(Bastrop, April 27, 2015) An urban-rural legislative coalition of farmers, ranchers, rural landowners, wildlife advocates, environmentalists and political reformers is urging the defeat of a little-noticed water bill that will likely come to the floor of the Senate on Tuesday. HB 3298/SB 1907 directs the Texas Water Development Board to conduct a study for the development of a market and conveyance network for water in the Texas.

“SB 1907 assumes that a statewide water market is the best plan for Texas, but we can’t solve our water problems by selling it and moving it around,” objected Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes common-sense policies for local agricultural and food production.  “What we really need is a statewide water plan that prioritizes conservation and preservation of our water resources for generations to come for both rural and urban communities.”

Respected water conservation leader, Ken Kramer (Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club) wrote, “The future of water in Texas probably will include some additional movement of water within the state, the establishment of regional water markets, and exchanges of water rights, but those can be accomplished as needed without setting up a statewide water ‘gridzilla’ that could well trample on many of the values that Texans hold dear – including landowner rights, abundant fish and wildlife, rural values, and fiscal responsibility.”

Michele Gangnes, a rural landowner who helped lead the battle to stop San Antonio’s “water grab” in Lee County 15 years ago, said, “The $3.4 billion Vista Ridge project to pipe groundwater 142 miles from Burleson County to San Antonio is the backdrop for the planned water grid. The gold rush mentality fueling this project threatens not only our aquifer but our rural areas’ economic future. As the number two water user behind California, Texas should avoid that state’s failed policy of moving water to semi-arid regions to attract growth.”

Senate Bill 1907 is sponsored by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock).  The House companion bill, HB 3298, is sponsored by Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio).  The study is estimated to cost $2 million.

Organizations currently opposed to this legislation are:
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Texas Certified Farmers Market Association, Food Policy Council of San Antonio, Food and Farm Coalition (East Texas Community Food Coalition), National Wildlife Federation, Neighbors for Neighbors, Environmental Stewardship, Lone Star Chapter – Sierra Club, Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, and the League of Independent Voters of Texas.

For more background:
SB 1907/HB 3298 Fact Sheet
Ken Kramer Op-Ed

Brief Videos of testimony before the Senate Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee:

· Judith McGeary, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Michele Gangnes, League of Independent Voters and Steve Box, Environmental Stewardship

· Ken Kramer, Lone Star Chapter – Sierra Club and Myron Hess, National Wildlife Federation

Those quoted can be reached at:
Judith McGeary:
judith@farmandranchfreedom.org, 512-484-8821 or 254- 697-2661
Ken Kramer:
kenkramer@aol.com
Michele Gangnes: mmgangnes@aol.com, 512-461-3179

For more information:

League of Independent Voters of Texas
PO Box 651 * Bastrop, TX 78602
512-213-4511 * 512-657-2089 cell