League of Independent Voters of Texas
 

Texas Water Development Board Seeks to Overturn Local Control
in Water Planning for the Marvin Nichols Reservoir,
Caring Less for Farm and Timber Jobs in NE Texas

         During the campaign for Proposition 6, Texas independents warned voters that the new Texas Water Development Board had become a political tool for Governor Perry and his special interest allies in their efforts to promote uncontrolled population growth. Now, a new independent non-profit citizens lobby – the League of Independent Voters of Texas – is calling out the “new and politically improved” TWDB for its attempt to push the Marvin Nichols Reservoir on Region D, the regional water planning area in NE Texas. Region D and area citizens have long opposed the Marvin Nichols because it would flood 70,000 acres of prime farm and timber land, potentially wreaking havoc on local economies.

         Calvin Tillman, former Mayor of DISH and an Interim Director of the League of Independent Voters of Texas who lives in Denton County and Region C said, “There is a conflict in the state water plan between Region D and Region C, which encompasses the DFW area. Rather than resolve the conflict, TWDB tried to move forward for Region C – for the Marvin Nichols Reservoir -- but they ran into a road bump. A court said they had to settle the conflict before moving forward with the project. TWDB’s idea of ‘settlement’ was to order Region D, even before their hearing today and Region C’s hearing tomorrow, to end their opposition now and forever. This is obviously an abuse of state power and portends what is to come. The TWDB is apparently willing to ignore local control in water planning in Texas, plain and simple.”

         Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) has tried his best to reason with the TWDB. Simpson recently wrote, “Even the executive administrator has admitted that relying on the Marvin Nichols reservoir is not feasible because it is highly unlikely it can be permitted and built in time to meet the projected needs of DFW Region C. Why, then, has he proposed to eradicate the conflict on paper if it is impractical? Why would he do so prior even to public comment? Besides throwing out local control of planning, his injudicious and unequitable proposal may well cause future investment and development in major industries in Northeast Texas to begin to dry up.”

         Linda Curtis, Executive Director of the League of Independent Voters, who lives in Bastrop where citizens, alongside the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District, are fighting to hold on to their groundwater in the face of litigation by private water marketers (Forestar Real Estate Group) said, "Politicians often underestimate the extent to which citizens will fight for local control and their heritage. It is time long overdue for the 40% plurality of voters who identify as independents to disassociate with the partisanship that is getting us nowhere. We must now and forever refuse to accept violations of our rights to own and enjoy property, our rights to clean water and air, and our rights to apolitical government."

         Citizens across the state are being urged to send the letter at the end of this release, or their own comments, to the TWDB through the comment period ending this Friday, May 2, even if it falls on deaf ears.

         The first of 36 “Regional Round Ups” of the League of Independent Voters of Texas will be on Saturday, June 7, starting at 6 pm at the American Legion Hall in Bastrop. The theme of this event is, “Local Control, new Environmentalism…Texas Populism”. It will be a rally for local control and protecting aquifers from increased fracking slated for Bastrop and Lee counties over one of the most sought after aquifers in the state. Mayor Tillman will be a keynote speaker. The League has 36 districts across the state and plans to hold similar events to build its membership before the pivotal 2015 legislative session.

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Dear Texas Water Development Board:

I believe that you are interfering with the rights of Texans to local control and the rights of local communities to have the biggest voice in projects that significantly impact their land, their water and their local economies. I also believe that, in interfering with the rights of all Texans to local control, you are risking a dangerous precedent for all local communities across our state.

In the case of the Marvin Nichols Reservoir, I believe that the Texas Water Development Board is trampling on the rights of citizens and officials in Region D by forcing them to put aside their concerns now and forever, and thereby accept a bad result for themselves and their descendants. How do you ask Texans to virtually give up what makes them Texans in the first place --- the right to question authoritarian leaders who do not have their interests at heart?

I urge you to back off of the Marvin Nichols and listen to the people and leadership in Region D. Their point of view is at least as valuable as those who would deny their voice.

Interfering with the rights of the citizens and officials of Region D will not only worsen the state's water crisis, it will confirm the crisis in confidence in the newly organized Texas Water Development Board. Voters were warned in the campaign for Prop 6 last November that the TWDB had become a politicized agency. I would urge you to not prove those criticisms correct.

John or Jane Q Citizen

For more information:

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