Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bad Prop. 6 spending could harm Galveston Bay: Groups

Groups: Bad Prop. 6 spending could harm Galveston Bay


Saturday, November 16, 2013 1:00 am


Groups: Bad Prop. 6 spending could harm Galveston Bay By MICHAEL A. SMITH


Done poorly, efforts to slake a surging thirst for surface water among farms, industries and cities along the Trinity River could harm Galveston Bay, two environmental groups warn.


Environment Texas and the Galveston Bay Foundation are calling for the Texas Water Development Board to make conservation efforts top priorities for funding from a $2 billion pool voters approved last week through Proposition 6.


Representatives of the groups, both of which supported passage of Proposition 6, spoke during a news conference Tuesday at Pier 21 in Galveston where they issued a report on threatened Texas rivers.


Demand for water is expected to rise as Texas adds 21 million residents by 2060, according to the report.


The Texas Water Development Board anticipates that 51 percent of new water supplies will have to come from rivers and streams as the state’s aquifers are becoming increasingly depleted.


The groups said the state’s 2012 water plan relies too much on building reservoirs and diverting river water for agricultural, industrial and municipal uses, which damages river and bay ecosystems.


The report focused on the Rio Grande, Guadalupe, San Saba, Sulphur and Trinity rivers.


The groups urged the board to direct regional water planning groups to include in their 2014 priority lists at least 30 percent of funding for water conservation.


 “Last week, Texans overwhelmingly supported Proposition 6, a historic investment in cutting water waste and conserving water,” said Dani Neuharth-Keusch, field associate with Environment Texas Research and Policy Center.


“Now it’s up to the water board to invest the money in a way that restores our rivers and bays while sustainably meeting communities’ water needs.”


The water development board didn’t respond to a request for comment.


At least 500 billion gallons of water are wasted in Texas each year, enough to meet the water needs of 9 million Texans, the report states.


Water is lost through evaporation and over-watering fields, through old, inefficient technology at industrial production sites and through leaking municipal water systems, according to the report.


Anywhere from 10 percent to 40 percent of the water pumped into municipal systems is lost through leaks, said Bob Stokes, president of Galveston Bay Foundation.


A law accompanying Proposition 6 mandates that at least 20 percent of the funding be used to support water conservation projects and another 10 percent be used for rural or agricultural conservation projects, Neuharth-Keusch said.


“As a result, billions will be available to farmers to upgrade irrigation equipment, to cities to fix leaking municipal water mains, and to businesses to install drought-resistant landscaping or water-efficient appliances,” she said.


One estimate found that as much as 25 percent of the water pumped into the city of Houston’s system was lost to leaks, Stokes said. Houston and Dallas are among the largest municipal users of the Trinity River, which, along with the San Jacinto River, feeds fresh water into Galveston Bay.


The influx of freshwater where the Trinity meets Galveston Bay supports economically important oyster, shrimp and blue crab fisheries, Stokes said. Oysters are particularly vulnerable to higher salinity levels that would come from the loss of freshwater inflows, he said.


“The loss of oysters in Galveston Bay would provide not only a crushing ecosystem blow to the Bay, but also a crushing economic blow to the Bay area,” Stokes said.


Tom Tollett, who owns Tommy’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar, 2555 Bay Area Blvd., said he was concerned about a reduction of freshwater into Galveston Bay harming oyster beds.


“We have to find a way to meet the needs of one industry without destroying another,” he said.




Prop 6: Slush Fund or Solution to Texas’ Water Woes?


Everything you've ever wanted to know about Prop 6—and then some.


by Forrest Wilder Published on Thursday, October 31, 2013, at 8:00 CST


At this point, you’ve probably heard about Texas’ water woes. We’re in a drought, our population is booming, some towns have lost their water supply, and things are likely to get worse. You might have also seen TV spots recently urging you to vote yes on Proposition 6 on Nov. 5. Or maybe you heard Gov. Rick Perry talking it up on the local news, posing in front of a dwindling lake. Or maybe you read speaker of the House Joe Straus’ compelling op-ed in the San Antonio Express-News. Prop 6 is being pitched as a long-term solution to the growing water supply problems of the state, a near-panacea to avoid the economic, social and environmental stress that prolonged drought is bringing to the state. Or as the pro-Prop 6 ads put it, “Don’t let the tap run dry.”


But what is Prop 6 and who’s behind it and who stands to profit from it? Unless you followed the legislative sessions closely, you probably had no idea what Prop 6 is, and you don’t want to just take “their” word for it. In short, you’ve probably got some questions. Below is a FAQ, based on interviews and research conducted by the Observer that we hope will help you make an informed choice at the polls on Nov. 5 (or during early voting, if that’s how you roll).




What is Prop 6?


It’s one of nine proposed constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot this year. Essentially, Proposition 6 would create a water bank, seeded with $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, to help finance the 562 water projects anticipated in the State Water Plan. The main fund is called the State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT).


Those projects, ranging from building new reservoirs to fixing leaky pipes, are estimated to cost $53 billion over the next 50 years. State leaders believe the $2 billion can be leveraged to cover the state’s share, or $27 billion.


The fund would provide low-cost financing options for communities and utilities around Texas by buying down interest rates, offering deferred payments on interest and principal, and extending the payback period for loans.


Who will oversee all that money?


The new (and improved?) Texas Water Development Board.


The Legislature, as part of the legislation authorizing Prop 6, restructured the agency from an all-volunteer board to a three-member panel appointed by Gov. Rick Perry—a move that has heightened concerns that the SWIFT will end up being another slush fund benefitting Perry’s cronies.The top administrators and all board members were purged. The former head of the agency, Melanie Callahan, said the politicization of the water board could lead to conflicts of interest.


“I think any time you have political appointees who are full time and making $150,000 a year, I don’t see how you at least have that perception,” Callahan told the Observer.


Who did Rick Perry appoint to oversee the Texas Water Development Board?


This is going to come as a shock… but he appointed three loyalists with close partisan or business ties to the governor.


Bech Bruun: Bruun has swung through the revolving door between the GOP and Texas government several times. He was on Rick Perry’s staff from 2001 to 2007, advising the governor on, get this, gubernatorial appointments. Then, he went to work as the executive director of Texas Victory 2008, the GOP’s get-out-the-vote operation. Then, he worked as chief of staff to state Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi) before heading off to the Brazos River Authority. The Brazos River Authority has been embroiled in controversy for years as it tries to take control of most of the remaining unallocated water rights in the Brazos basin.


Carlos Rubinstein: An old hand at water policy in Texas, Rubinstein previously served as the Rio Grande Watermaster before being tapped for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Though he was not quite as divisive as his counterparts, Rubinstein has generally been in line with the governor’s aggressive attacks on EPA.


Mary Ann Williamson: The wife of the late Ric Williamson, who was a close friend of Perry’s and oversaw the scuttled Trans-Texas Corridor. Mary Ann Williamson previously served as the chair of the Texas Lottery Commission and she owns MKS Natural Gas, a company Perry invested in through his blind trust.


How do I get my hands on some of that sweet SWIFT money?


The only projects that can be considered for financing are those listed in the State Water Plan, which is redrafted every five years. The most recent plan, released in 2012, contains 562 projects. The State Water Plan is the product of 16 regional water planning groups, agglomerations of stakeholders—including cities, power plant operators, river authorities, agriculture and environmentalists—who study the region’s needs, current and future water supply, and come up with a list of recommended projects (Under the new law, the planning groups must come up with a list of prioritized water projects.)


The SWIFT dollars won’t be available until March 2015, three years into the next round of the regional planning process that leads to the State Water Plan.


Is there anything in there for conservation or rural communities?


Yes, the Legislature directed the water board to devote at least 20 percent of the funding to water conservation, and 10 percent to rural communities and agriculture. Those provisions went a long way toward buying support from big environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and ag interests like the Texas Farm Bureau, both which are stumping for Prop 6.


However, some environmentalists point out that the language in the final bill (the water board “shall undertake to apply”) is ambiguous and could make conservation optional.


“Our view obviously is that most likely it’s going to be window dressing for a slush fund,” said Bill Bunch of Austin’s Save Our Springs Alliance, whose board voted unanimously to oppose Prop 6. “There is some small chance that Rick Perry’s appointees will do something other than throw money at their cronies. We just see that as very unlikely.”


But Ken Kramer, the well-respected former chairman of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, argues the concern is overblown. “Frankly that’s just a tempest in a teapot as far as I’m concerned,” he said. The provision had to be written that way because it’s possible, though not likely, that not enough conservation-related applications could be filed to reach the 20 percent threshold. The conservation target, he argues, “provides an opportunity we haven’t had before—to get out there and really hustle for conservation projects that can be brought online pretty quickly.” Kramer said conservation-minded folks should get involved with the regional water planning process to make sure conservation projects get put on the priority list.


Michele Gangnes, an activist in Lee County with the group Independent Texans, disagrees.


“I trust [Kramer']s instincts, but in this case I think his judgment is clouded by hoping that this is a way to get conservation funded.” Ganges said she’s tried to make conservation projects a priority at her regional planning group, but they “roll their eyes.”


Who’s supporting Prop 6?


In general, Prop 6 has broad backing from what you might term The Bigs: big environmental groups, big ag, big business and big-time politicians, including Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, speaker of the House Joe Straus and the vast majority of the Texas Legislature. The bill putting Prop 6 on the ballot passed the Texas House 141-4, with token opposition from a handful of tea party members.


Meanwhile, a coalition of industrial interests, organized as Water Texas PAC and run by Speaker Joe Straus, has poured $2.1 million into a campaign to push voters to approve Prop 6. The top donors include a mix of water-intensive industries and interests that stand to profit from the billions in spending on water infrastructure unleashed by Prop 6. Among the top funders of Water Texas PAC:


•The Associated General Contractors of Texas ($375,000), a trade association whose members are likely to profit from the projects funded by SWIFT;


•Dow Chemical ($250,000): Dow enjoys senior water rights on the Brazos River associated with its gargantuan chemical facilities at Freeport on the coast. Water rights for some other users in the Brazos have been suspended multiple times during the current drought when Dow has made a “priority call,” basically laying claim to its share when there’s not enough to go around.


•Energy Future Holdings Co./Luminant ($129,000): The nearly bankrupt EFH is Texas’ largest electric utility company. Its fleet of coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants rely on a stable water supply to ensure that its steam turbines can generate electricity.


•Koch Industries ($20,000): Although Koch is better known for David and Charles Koch’s vast contributions to right-wing causes and corporate front groups, the company’s manufacturing and refining facilities depend on an abundant and cheap supply of water.


Water Texas roped in former Rangers pitcher, and Republican booster, Nolan Ryan to stump for Prop 6.


The environmental community is split, with the big green groups—Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Environment Texas—supporting Prop 6.


Who’s opposing Prop 6?


The opposition has never been well organized and is only now, just days before the election, receiving much attention from the press. The most vocal skeptics and opponents of Prop 6 largely hail from two camps that don’t normally get along—libertarians and tea party activists, and grassroots environmentalists.


JoAnn Fleming, a well-known tea party activist from Tyler who oversees the We the People PAC, has put out a voter guide offering 12 reasons to oppose Prop 6. The guide blasts SWIFT as a “quasi-investment bank” that will “set up a shell game to favor special interests” while burdening local government with debt.


Michele Gangnes, a Lee County attorney and member of the informal “Nix Prop 6″ group, says she thinks SWIFT will pay for projects that will move water from rural areas to the big cities.


“We’re pushing the power up to the state and taking away local control,” she said.


Some environmentalists insist that cities should implement more aggressive conservation programs before spending billions on resource-intensive water supply projects.


“What the Legislature did was offer a panic-button approach for pork-barrel projects that are almost always aimed at increasing the rate of depletion of limited water supplies in the form of pipelines and reservoir projects,” said Bunch, the long-time director of Save our Springs.


“Most of the effective conservation strategies don’t require debt or big-capital financing. The ones that do are probably not the ones that are the most cost-effective.”


Has anything like this been proposed before?


Not exactly. But Texas voters have been asked at least a dozen times to amend the state constitution to authorize water-related spending. The first such instance was in 1957, at the tail end of the historic drought of record. Voters overwhelmingly approved (74 percent in favor) $200 million (about $1.7 billion in today’s dollars) in water development funding to make loans to drought-stricken communities. Along with the creation of the Texas Water Development Board, it marked the advent of an era of reservoir-building and state involvement in securing water supplies.


Between the late 1960s and early 1980s, voters took a more jaundiced view of state spending on water infrastructure. The most grandiose water plan ever hatched came to a vote in 1969. The Legislature, perhaps high on the Summer of Love, asked voters to approve $3.5 billion in bonds (an incredible $22.3 billion in today’s dollars) to finance the construction of the “Trans-Texas canal” (sound familiar?), an open-air canal from the Mississippi River through Louisiana to East Texas, where huge reservoirs would store the water, and collect more, before conveying it to arid agricultural areas of West and South Texas.


The Observer, then a for-profit venture that endorsed candidates (the Observer is now a nonprofit), called it “not really a plan at all, but a highly speculative, sometimes dishonest, and always optimistic scheme for spending a monumental hunk of Texas’ money, mainly to replenish the water supplies of West and South Texas irrigators and oil and sulphur producers.” Sound familiar?


The Observer editorial also notes that “most of the state’s daily newspapers have endorsed the water bond issue, editorializing with great assurance that, although the plan is expensive, there is no alternative if Texas is to have the water it desperately needs. Wrong.”


And the voters seem to have agreed. The proposition was narrowly defeated, by fewer than 6,000 votes.


Chastened, the Legislature didn’t try another big bond authorization for water infrastructure until 1976, when voters soundly rejected a $400 million water bond authorization. Voters also shot down, 43-57, another proposal, floated by Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland), in 1981 to dedicate a portion of excess tax revenue to water projects.


Kramer, of the Sierra Club, said he thinks Texans rejected the proposals because “there was no effort to pay attention to conservation.”


“It was just a build, build, build type concept,” he said.


By 1985, legislators tried again, this time taking a more comprehensive approach that included conservation, funding for agricultural projects and flood control. The two measures overwhelmingly passed and since then every water-funding proposition has succeeded, including the most recent in 2011—an additional $6 billion in bond authority for the Texas Water Development Board—with a narrow 51.5 percent of voters approving.


Tags: Drought, Prop 6, reservoirs, Rick Perry, State Water Plan, SWIFT, Texas Water Development Board


Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.




Proposition 6 is Rick Perry crony slush fund

by TXsharon on October 25, 2013

Alyssa Burgin, Executive Director, Texas Drought Project wrote the following opinion about Proposition 6. And, if anyone knows the ins and outs of drought, it’s Alyssa.

water canary

The Texas Drought Project opposes Proposition 6, which takes $2 billion from the Rainy Day fund to ‘salt’ loans managed by the Texas Water Development Board. Twenty percent is presumably allotted for conservation, and conservation is a good thing, but–in the two-and-a-half-inch thick Texas Water plan, only one paragraph is devoted to conservation, and the language, which states that the Water Board “shall undertake to apply” funds to conservation rather than “shall apply”–is not a typo.
Consider who’s funding the PR campaign–Dow Chemical, the Koch brothers, O&G–profiteers who would drain Texas dry for a tidy fortune. The new TWDB board reflects their influence–all Perry cronies, including the co-owner of Perry’s O&G company. These high-salaried newcomers will decide where the money is spent.
Remember–all the money in the world won’t fill reservoirs that sit at 0.0% (Lake Meredith), 4.2% (Medina), 5.6% (Palo Duro) or Travis (32%). Areas in which reservoirs suffer high evaporation rates will lose even more water as temperatures rise with climate change. Logically, the only places where it would be of benefit to build reservoirs would be in areas where they’re already full. And what would be the purpose, other than to build them for the specific intention of piping water to other areas–thirsty big cities where elected officials have been unable to institute real conservation or implement serious drought restrictions. Why should we as taxpayers bear the cost of more water for “addicts” whose addiction to cheap water is out of control? Should the TWDB pick winners and losers? Don’t small towns and rural areas, bays and rural ecosystems ‘deserve’ to keep their own water, without profiteers piping it to sprawling population centers–for big dollars–or using it for their own enterprises?
We strongly urge a “no” vote on Proposition 6.
Alyssa Burgin
Additional information:
From the Texas Drought Project Voter Guide:
Information about Perry’s crony appointments to the TWDB and about the water used for fracking:
Earthworks does not have a position on Prop 6 but I will be voting against it.



 re-Prop-6, fresh water, and Galveston Bay,


THE very reason why I voted NO for Prop 6. just another slush fund for the state. Galveston Bay can take no more abuse. IF it’s not the constant dredging and the islands of toxic dredge materials there from popping up every where not bad enough for the Galveston Bay waters, due to industry, now we have the Texas Water Development Board and Prop 6 slush fund that will be bought off to the highest bidder via lobbying from the farming industry, the rice farmers, to livestock industry, to city’s that just about loose more water than they contain and use, and that’s just a few off the top of my head. the Texas water board is no different than anybody else, there pockets can be picked clean like any other group, by politicians, industry, and lobbyist there from. it’s bad enough that Texas is a nuclear dumping ground for 38 states thanks to Rick Perry and his friends, it’s bad enough the air we breath is barely breathable thanks to Rick Perry and his corporate buddies, but now we are going to risk our beloved Galveston Bay, again, by risking the natural influx of fresh water into Galveston bay, to the highest bidder. I have spoken with folks in the seafood industry, and the restrictions they claim already on the influx of fresh water into Galveston Bay is already hurting shrimp, oysters, and other sea life in Galveston bay. she can’t take any more abuse from man, and that’s all she will get from Austin with this Prop 6, that everyone was fooled into voting for.


nothing nor nobody (except God), should be a top priority over any change, that would be detrimental in water influx into Galveston Bay, or any other bay in Texas, nobody. ...


Terry S. Singeltary Sr. Galveston Bay



Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Dickinson Bayou: A TMDL Project and Use Assessment for Bacteria Troubled Waters


Dickinson Bayou: A TMDL Project and Use Assessment for Bacteria




Saturday, August 11, 2012




(see video of the dead flounder floating)








see video of massive flounder kill with Seabreeze article September 6, 2012 ; Thousands of Flounder Killed on San Leon Bacliff Shoreline (AGAIN)





additional sources for flounder kill video;





Department of the Army December 9, 1963





Friday, May 3, 2013


TEXAS, EPA, TCEQ, RICK PERRY, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and the dumbing down of sound science for profit $ i.e. The High Quality Stupid Act




Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Radioactive Senate waste bill 791 Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo and Governor Rick Perry, Totalitarian rule or Authoritarian regime ?




Monday, March 25, 2013


TCEQ Proposes Removal of Two Pollutants from the Texas City APWL Area--Benzene and Hydrogen Sulfide




Sunday, December 9, 2012






October 10, 2012


IKE DIKE PROPOSED BY RICE UNIVERSITY hangs our Bayshore communities out to dry, IN 25 FEET OF WATER, to make way for WATERFRONT RECREATION $$$




Monday, April 15, 2013


Hurricane Ike: 5 Years Later Conference Rice Dike Proposal September 24-25, 2013




Sunday, June 9, 2013









I guess they got one permit stipulating one height for the toxic dredge dump behind our house, and since the people in shore acres, and yacht club, didn’t want another toxic dump, they got them to just make that island behind our house bigger with another permit? I guess the next big hurricane all that mess will be in our backyard. I went and bought 50 LBS. of shrimp yesterday at Hillmans for the winter, they are having to bring shrimp in from Polacias, Texas, because they are not getting any shrimp in Galveston bay. daaa, can you see my surprised look on my face. ...something is wrong with Galveston Bay, and it will only get worse with the continued dredging of Galveston Bay. now we are going to get super tankers up to the Houston Ship channel. why can’t they just stay in Galveston $ who will pay for the increased erosion of the bulkheads and shoreline, from these bigger ships, causing bigger wave activity? I am sure the Port of Houston, and the Army corp. of engineers already have that one all worked out, with a ‘no responsibility clause’, and or, another permit that the Army Corp. of engineers never following up on, like the one they did not follow up on for the PH Robinson H L & P power plant construction permitting process. I look for the Army Corp. of engineers just to rubber stamp another pollution project to bolster it’s earnings at the Port of Houston. I am afraid Galveston Bay has lost it’s battle to survive. ...


see map of island ;






























see tractors and pattern works here ???


zoom in and zoom out









(you can see the dredge way to the right of the photo. zoom in, and look at the waters of the bay from the dragline...)










GLIT ISLAND 4 SEEMS TO BE CONNECTED TO MANY GLIT TYPE ISLANDS NOW BEING FORMED AND FILLED IN, that eventually, once running northward, start to turn green, just before the Atkinson Island Wildlife Management area





Friday, December 24, 2010




I think the title should have read, "TEXAS LOSES TO BE NEXT BIG DUMPING GROUND FOR NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION RADIOACTIVE WASTE", thanks to Governor Rick Perry.


update on my father-in-law Dana (RED) Ashcraft of Miamisburg Ohio, and my best fishing buddy, and Poisoned AT THE MONSANTO MOUND, hospice has now been called in. ...




part II December 25, 2010


WHY then, was my father-in-laws work records denied him, with the claim that his records were buried deep in a mountain due to contamination ? now i am speaking of only his work records, not the radioactive waste itself, that you claim to be 1000 % safe today. tell me that. do you know how many different folks handled all that paper work over the years. also, the swimming pool in Miamisburg Ohio, the old one right down from the Monsanto Mound. the town had to shut it down and fill the swimming pool in with cement. wonder how many kids there were exposed over the decades, including my wife ?




" We acknowledge that some people near the Mound Plant have breathed, or will likely breathe, very small amounts of plutonium-238, hydrogen-3 (tritium), and other radioactive substances that will be or have been released into the air from the Mound Plant. And some people may be exposed to radioactive materials released from the Mound Plant into the area waterways (for example, tritium in the Miamisburg Community Park swimming pool). Nevertheless, there is no evidence that current environmental levels of these substances cause adverse health effects. "


Data Evaluation: Current Exposures




Then, they send all the radioactive waste to Texas. Now, we are going to multiply this by about 38 states ?


stupid is, as stupid does, and some times you just can't fix stupid $$$




My old fishing buddy (my father-in-law Red, deceased now), took these photos after I convinced him to get back with the Mayor and see if he would take him down there again, and if he did, get me a photo or two of this nuclear crap coming to Texas, thanks to the good Governor of Texas, rick perry, the steward of the environment that he is (NOT). well, here are the photo’s ;


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Company advances on plan for West Texas nuclear dump


(railcars loaded with MOUND COLD WAR NUCLEAR AFTER-BIRTH headed to Texas)




Wednesday, July 30, 2008






Sunday, August 28, 2011


Rick Perry, Texas, BSE aka mad cow disease, CJD, and 12 years of lies there from




Monday, November 4, 2013


R-CALF Bullard new BSE rule represents the abrogation of USDA’s responsibility to protect U.S. consumers and the U.S. cattle herd from the introduction of foreign animal disease




with great sadness and disgust, I must inform you that our federal government has failed us again, and chose the industry over sound science, with regards to TSE prion disease, aka mad cow type disease...tss


Saturday, November 2, 2013


APHIS Finalizes Bovine Import Regulations in Line with International Animal Health Standards while enhancing the spread of BSE TSE prion mad cow type disease around the Globe







No comments: