Landowners Score @ Senate Water Hearing; Paul Pape, and his horse, get 5-stars!
Volunteer at the Lee County Fair, May 19 thru 21 -- Thursday through Saturday. Join us for the parade on Saturday, 10 am. We'll be riding those water marketers high, like we did at the Lexington Homecoming!
Senate Interim Water Hearing
We gotta tell you that the Tuesday Hearing by the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs was a big hoot. Perry was watching his ps and qs, allowing those pesky Lee and Bastrop County landowners who are facing water depletion, and their advocates, lots of time to state their cases.
Catch them -- John DeGomez, Bill Rhodes, Andy Wier (Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund), Don Hardy, Nancy McKee, LIV Advisor, James Murphy (on ocean desal) and Kermit Heaton -- between 3:55:18 and 5:24:03 on the Senate Recorded Hearing here.
Our quick take on the hearing:
Chairman Sen. Charles Perry, while trying extra hard to at least appear to cater to these landowners (all conservative Republicans), it was the urban liberal Democrat and freshman, former Travis County Judge, Sarah Eckhardt, who grabbed Republican thunder. Eckhardt had, in fact, helped get an important landowner protection bill (HB 3619) through the Texas House in 2021. When it got to Perry's Senate Committee, he sat on it rendering it graveyard dead.
Perry also stated that the aquifers for Vista Ridge are "fast recharging." Perhaps he misspoke. We promise you these are VERY SLOW TO RECHARGE aquifers -- as in 100s of years for mega-pumping projects like Vista Ridge. Admittedly, the Ogallala Aquifer in Perry's district is practically-speaking a no-recharging aquifer. Texas leadership -- including Rick and Charles Perry (no relation) failed to fight for protections of one of the greatest aquifers in the world -- the Ogallala.
What was most bothersome to us at LIV is that Perry implied that getting the landowners some money to remunerate their damages was all they really wanted. Not so. They and many others -- hundreds, even thousands of residents in Milam, Burleson and Lee counties -- had already turned down the salesmen for the water marketers who knocked on their door. Some reported to us, after multiple visits from these "salesmen," having to brandish firearms to get their point across to vacate their property.
As landowner, Don Hardy, pointed out, we don't really know where the water is headed now that San Antonio is "waterful" -- a word SAWS invented for having too much water on their hands! No one responded when he suggested the Senate Committee find out. :)
No one is safe until we get real protections for the people, environment and wildlife dependent on the water under and over our feet!
Visit more here about Pape's Five-Star Rating from LIV.
Visit LIV's "Big Squeeze" water page to take in the story of Vista Ridge.