Sunday, October 13, 2013

Texas Drought & Perry's Prop. 6 Lobby

On the ballot this coming November, in Texas, is Proposition 6 to amend the Texas Constitution. The Amendment will create a new state fund for water projects needed to prepare for and combat drought conditions in the state.

A few years back, California proposed water rationing that seemed to be mostly directed at farmers and citrus growers. It has since proven harmful to the California economy.

Texas is trying a different strategy. The state's legislature passed resolutions to enable the legally registered voters in the state to amend the constitution.

 SECTION 1.  Article III, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Sections 49-d-12 and 49-d-13 to read as follows: 
       Sec. 49-d-12.  (a)  The State Water Implementation Fund for Texas is created as a special fund in the state treasury outside the general revenue fund. Money in the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas shall be administered, without further appropriation, by the Texas Water Development Board or that board's successor in function and shall be used for the purpose of implementing the state water plan that is adopted as required by general law by the Texas Water Development Board or that board's successor in function. Separate accounts may be established in the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas as necessary to administer the fund or authorized projects.

The idea is to take $2B from the state's "Rainy Day Fund" to start a new fund directed at assisting priority water projects in the state. This proposition comes in light of a US Supreme Court decision regarding cross-border water cooperatives and agreements with states such as Oklahoma. Texas had claimed a compact with Oklahoma granted Texas the rights to water on the north end of the Red River. Oklahoma protested, saying it still required direct consent from Oklahoma for Texas to have that access. The US Supreme Court took a state's rights stance and sided with Oklahoma.

Amid bolstering the State to fill-in where federal bureaucratic furloughs and temporarily delayed funding due to the "government shutdown' and handling other necessary state business, Governor Perry has been rather active promoting Proposition 6.

Perry has made three major speeches in regards to Proposition 6 since October 1st. Water is essential for life as well as for much of the Texas economy. Perry understands the necessity of this vital natural resource. From such a stance, he highly supports Prop. 6.

On October 2nd, at the Fisher Reservoir in San Angelo, Perry said this:

"Earlier this year the Texas Legislature passed, and I was proud to sign, House Bill 4, which makes a historic commitment to meet our state's current and future water needs without raising a single penny in taxes. If Texas is to remain the best place to live, work, grow your business or raise your family, we must ensure adequate supplies for generations to come. We stand at a historic crossroads, with a prime opportunity to meet our water needs for ourselves and generations of future Texans."

Then on Oct. 9th, at Lake Travis:

"Prop. 6 presents us with a historic opportunity to fund water projects that will ensure we have the water we need to grow and thrive, for the next five decades. We're talking about projects like new reservoirs, state-of-the-art desalination plants, and utilizing new technology to conserve and re-use current supplies. This is simply too vital an issue, and too narrow a window of opportunity, to come up short on the brink of meeting our water needs."
 Followed the next day with these remarks in Wylie, TX near the Texoma Pipeline construction site:

"For every project currently being built, many more across our state are waiting for funding before they can get underway to deal with a specific local water issue. As we face the ongoing effects of drought, combined with our economic and population growth, we simply can't wait any longer. If Texas is to remain the best place to live, work, grow a business or raise a family, we must ensure adequate supplies for generations to come. That's why Prop. 6 is so important to the future of this state."
On Oct. 3rd, Gov. Perry extended a Texas State of Emergency for the second time this year. In July, Perry issued an Emergency Disaster Proclamation in regards to several Texas Counties for drought conditions. He extended that proclamation in September.  Despite the onset of "Fall Rains", the conditions have not improved significantly enough to call and end to the state of emergency.

I, RICK PERRY, Governor of the State of Texas, issued an Emergency Disaster Proclamation on July 5, 2011, certifying that exceptional drought conditions posed a threat of imminent disaster in specified counties in Texas.
WHEREAS, record high temperatures, preceded by significantly low rainfall, have resulted in declining reservoir and aquifer levels, threatening water supplies and delivery systems in many parts of the state; and
WHEREAS, prolonged dry conditions continue to increase the threat of wildfire across many portions of the state; and
WHEREAS, these drought conditions have reached historic levels and continue to pose an imminent threat to public health, property and the economy; and
WHEREAS, this state of disaster includes the counties of Anderson, Andrews, Aransas, Archer, Armstrong, Atascosa, Austin, Bailey, Bandera, Bastrop, Baylor, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Briscoe, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callahan, Cameron, Camp, Carson, Cass, Castro, Cherokee, Childress, Clay, Cochran, Coke, Coleman, Collin, Collingsworth, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Dallas, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Delta, Denton, DeWitt, Dickens, Dimmit, Donley, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Ellis, El Paso, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Fort Bend, Franklin, Freestone, Frio, Gaines, Galveston, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hale, Hall, Hamilton, Hansford, Hardeman, Harris, Harrison, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hockley, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Howard, Hudspeth, Hunt, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Jackson, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kenedy, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney, Kleberg, Knox, La Salle, Lamar, Lamb, Lampasas, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Lipscomb, Live Oak, Llano, Lubbock, Lynn, Madison, Marion, Martin, Mason, Matagorda, Maverick, McCulloch, McLennan, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Midland, Milam, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Montgomery, Moore, Morris, Motley, Navarro, Nolan, Nueces, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Parmer, Pecos, Polk, Potter, Presidio, Rains, Randall, Reagan, Real, Red River, Reeves, Refugio, Roberts, Robertson, Rockwall, Runnels, Rusk, San Jacinto, San Patricio, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Sherman, Smith, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Sutton, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Terry, Throckmorton, Titus, Tom Green, Travis, Trinity, Upshur, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Ward, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler, Wise, Wood, Yoakum, Young, Zapata and Zavala.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.014 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby renew the disaster proclamation and direct that all necessary measures, both public and private as authorized under Section 418.017 of the code, be implemented to meet that threat.
As provided in Section 418.016 of the code, all rules and regulations that may inhibit or prevent prompt response to this threat are suspended for the duration of the state of disaster.
In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 3rd day of October, 2013.
Governor of Texas
Of particular note, "The River City", San Antonio, is located in Bexar County, one of the effected areas. San Antonio is home to the Alamo, a National Park that draws a large crowd of international tourists.

This proclamation extension is not a mere political spin. Many residents of counties such as Bexar pray for rain, rejoicing in each precious drop that falls, wondering if it will be enough to end the drought anytime soon. Much of Bexar and neighboring counties are home to farms, ranches, and vineyards necessary to the state's economy and necessary to providing food to much of the nation.

The fate of Prop. 6 will be decided on November 5th. Should it be passed, its success will be known only by what the future will hold. Meanwhile, Texans continue to pray for rain.