It’s not often that representatives of the Texas House of Representatives most associated with the Tea Party join with large timber companies, homeowners and the Sierra Club for a common cause. But that’s exactly what happened in and outside a hearing in Arlington this week, where the Texas Water Development Board and local water utilities hosted a Water Planning public hearing. At issue was the process for adopting the regional and state water plans, and in particular, whether or not a water strategy favored by one region — Region C — basically the Dallas area — which is vehemently opposed by Region D – could be put in the Water Plan without even a reference to the other group’s opposition. The water strategy in question has been on the back burner for some 15 years and is called Marvin Nichols Reservoir. The gigantic reservoir would be placed in Northeast Texas along the Sulphur River and in the process destroy important habitat, homes, businesses and part of the river itself.
James Presley, veteran environmentalist from Texarkana, said the possible mandatory deletion of any reference to Texas’ bitterest water fight struck him as particularly heavy-handed.
“I call this the Chinese solution to a Texas problem,” he said, according to an article by the Dallas Morning News.
Speaking on behalf of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club was former director Dr. Ken Kramer, who decried any process where the TWDB would allow one region’s desired strategy to trump another’s. He asked the TWDB to carefully consider the implications of such a water planning process, pitting one region against another.
If there was a bright spot in the proceedings, it was the unusual coalition of opponents, which included Rep. David Simpson (Rep-Longview), Andrea Williams, staff for Rep. George Lavender (Rep.- Texarakana), Bill Ward of Ward Timber, International Paper, and the Cass County elect judge, Mayor of Douglassville, a big bus of East Texans interested in protecting their homes and Rita Beving, representing the Dallas group of the Sierra Club and a member of the Executive Committee of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Stay tuned for more on this issue.
Sierra Club’s Rita Beving joins Rep. Simpson and others and tells TWDB exactly what they think about Marvin Nichols!