[Lt. Governor of Texas]
Post Office Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
OFFICE OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
David Dewhurst
                           

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            
January 16, 2014  

Lt. Governor Dewhurst Issues Interim Charges for Natural Resources, Announces Water-Related Appointments
Lt. Governor Dewhurst Issues Interim Charges for Natural Resources, Announces Water-Related Appointments
AUSTIN — The 83rd Legislative Session was one of the most conservative in decades. In addition to adopting a balanced budget that grew less than the rate of population and inflation, it will be remembered for a significant investment to address the water challenges facing Texas. On the heels of the overwhelming approval of Proposition 6 in the November 2013 elections, Lt. Governor Dewhurst continued his efforts to double Texas' water resources with his latest round of Interim Charges. In addition to issuing charges to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Dewhurst announced appointments to the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory Committee and Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination.
"With our population doubling in the next 50 years, we must ensure our water infrastructure is prepared to handle that growth and help grow our economy," said Dewhurst. "The November vote showed that Texans understand the importance of sufficient infrastructure in the face of population growth and periodic drought. These charges will keep us focused on efforts that will protect our quality of life and America's best state economy."
Lt. Governor Dewhurst instructed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources to focus on the following issues:
USE OF BRACKISH WATER. Lt. Governor Dewhurst charged the committee with studying and making recommendations to encourage the use of brackish water, including but not limited to Aquifer Storage and Recovery and Desalination.
REGULATION OF WATER SUPPLY. Lt. Governor Dewhurst also asked the committee to study and make recommendations on what state and federal environmental regulations most affect implementation of water supply strategies in the State Water Plan, including recommendations to reduce state barriers.
ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING DELAYS. Additionally, Lt. Governor Dewhurst instructed the committee to examine current processes for environmental permitting, including the impact of permitting delays on economic development. He also asked the committee to consider what environmental regulations and permitting procedures are most challenging for small businesses and make recommendations to reduce those burdens, and study and make recommendations on changes to the permitting process that could speed job creation while continuing to protect the environment.
IMPLEMENTATION OF LEGISLATION. Lastly, Lt. Governor Dewhurst asked the committee to monitor the implementation of legislation passed during the 83rd Legislative Session, including monitoring implementation of House Bill 4, which created the state water implementation fund.
Lt. Governor Dewhurst also named the following appointments:
 
State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory Committee

Sen. Troy Fraser (Chair), Marble Falls
Sen. Robert Duncan, Lubbock
Sen. Kevin Eltife, Tyler
 
Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination

Sen. Craig Estes (Chair), Wichita Falls
Sen. Troy Fraser, Marble Falls
Sen. Glenn Hegar, Katy
Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, McAllen
Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., Brownsville
 
"I believe we have a moral, ethical and legal obligation to provide this essential human need for our citizens," concluded Dewhurst. "Through these committees and interim charges, I am confident that Texas is continuing in the right direction that will only strengthen our economy."
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst will continue to release his interim charges in the coming weeks.
- 30 -