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Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance Supporting 38 Bills In Current Legislative Session

Eileen Pace

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance has released its legislative agenda for the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature, throwing its support behind 38 bills that promote water conservation and water quality, call for better funding of state parks, and improve coordination between various agencies dealing with water.

GEAA Executive Director Annalisa Peace said the broad support from the alliance indicates that legislators are thinking creatively and responsibly about Texas’ water problems.

"There’s one bill that I think all Texans should be excited about, and it’s actually to dedicate the sales tax from sporting goods to the upkeep of state parks, which have gone without for way too long," Peace said.

Another bill would provide a tax holiday for the purchase of water-saving appliances.

The alliance opposes 17 bills, including those that prohibit local authority to regulate certain land uses related to tree preservation and aquifer protection.

Pending in committee since last week is HB 1733 1377, which relates to ownership and local regulation of trees. It states that the government may not prohibit a landowner from trimming or removing trees located on the landowner's land, and that a governmental entity may assess a fee against a landowner for the removal of a mature tree on his property.

The alliance also opposes a bill that would raise the limit for reporting of sewage spills to 1,000 gallons. Currently, sewage spills of any size must be reported. 

The alliance said the bill would not only exempt sewage spills, but also spills of treatment chemicals.  The GEAA, which represents 47 member environmental organizations, posts it legislative agenda on its website: aquiferalliance.org.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.