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Urge Governor Abbott to Veto HB 1066

You may copy this letter and send it via email to Governor Greg Abbott here.

You can call the Governor at 512-463-2000.

The Honorable Greg Abbott                                                                        May 11, 2019 Governor of Texas P.O. Box 12428 Austin, Texas 78711

Dear Governor Abbott:

I am writing to ask you to veto HB 1066, which passed on May 10. And I am further requesting your help to stop additional groundwater bills or amended language from – HB 726, HB 1806, and SB 1010 — that may be passed in the final days of this legislative session that risk real damage to rural Texas and urban ratepayers and our aquifers.

These bills create risky policies for two critically important Texas aquifers: the mighty Edwards Aquifer and the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer in Lee, Burleson, Milam and Bastrop counties.

The Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and its Simsboro formation do not recharge within human lifetimes, and they will be depleted by multiple projects that are coming in, starting with San Antonio’s Vista Ridge, slated for completion in 2020. In addition to depriving rural communities of a viable economic future, the Vista Ridge project will impose rate hikes on San Antonio Water System ratepayers to pay for this hugely expensive plan – the most expensive groundwater in Texas.

HB 1066, promoted by the SAWS (San Antonio Water System) lobby team, a public agency no less, is attempting to silence landowners who are objecting to the Vista Ridge permit.

Last session you vetoed legislation with the identical provisions in HB 1066, that strips landowners of their rights to a public hearing on the issue of extending permits for transferring groundwater out of the area.

Your veto stated:

“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.”

California is paying for similar decisions they made 50 years ago to allow for mass movement of groundwater to develop in areas without enough local supply.

Please don’t allow this to happen to Texas – especially rural Texas. We all – rural, urban and suburban Texans — depend on each other and you, Governor. We are counting on you.

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