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February 11, 2002
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Senate Natural Resources Committee Discusses Charges in Dallas

The Senate Natural Resources Committee met on Monday, February 11, in Dallas to discuss two charges: Charge #1 about emissions reductions, the Federal Clean Air Act, and the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan and Charge #2 regarding the state's ability to respond to natural disaster.

Gregg Cooke from the Environmental Protection Agency discussed air quality and what cities are doing to attain clean air. Bob Huston, chairman of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission focused on the Emission Incentive funding projects and grants programs. Ron Harris, co-chair of Texans Clean Air Working Group (TCAWG ), discussed lowering the speed limit and the model in Houston saying, "We need to understand the chemistry in Texas." Bob Lanham of the Associated General Contractors also gave testimony to the committee.

The committee next heard testimony from the Surface Water Authority Panel whose members are Jim Adams of the San Jacinto River Authority, Jim Oliver from the Tarrant Regional Water District, Jerry Clark with the Sabine River Authority, and Bill West of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority. The men, all general managers of the various authorities, gave testimony regarding the effects of flooding in recent years. Bill West also discussed the "tremendous inconsistency" in flood plain mapping.

Bill Helfand from the Risk Management Section of the Texas Water Conservation Association testified about inverse condemnation and the effects it is having on the various water authorities in Texas.

Also testifying were Hugh Bender from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, Mike Howard of the Natural Resource Information System, and John Promise from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

The committee heard public testimony from three witnesses.

The committee has scheduled meetings for February 27 in Austin and March 19 in El Paso.

Members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee are Senator J.E. "Buster" Brown, Chairman, Senator Robert Duncan, Vice-Chairman, Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, Senator David Bernsen, Senator Teel Bivins, Senator Craig Estes, and Senator Eddie Lucio.

The committee adjourned subject to call of the chair.

Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.