Agriculture

Very Important Updates! Water, land, eminent domain and corporate personhood! See you soon, we hope!

Expect a full report soon — with an action request — from the League of Independent Voters on 7 of the 9 recent East Texas hearings on eminent domain, public safety and protection of waterways. Meanwhile, please take a moment to read this release from NacStop.org, a group that’s been fighting for East Texas pipeline safety for three years.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

*  This is a quick note to ask you to mark your calendars and get to Giddings this Monday for a critical hearing about the attempted groundwater grab by Forestar Real Estate Group. The Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District granted a last minute rehearing to Forestar.  Meanwhile, as you may know, Forestar and Hays County Commissioner’s Court have formed an unholy alliance that is urging for a favorable opinion from Attorney General Greg Abbott to aid their water raid on the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer mostly underlying Lee County. Come to this important hearing — wherever you live! No matter what happens, this is shaping up as ground zero for local water control and a issue in the Governor’s race.

Monday, December 16th, 6 pm Lost Pines Water Hearing!
American Legion, 1502 Hwy. 77, Giddings, TX map here.

*  January 11-12, the League of Independent Voters of Texas will hold a two day affair about local control.  There’s this national group, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, that has worked with 150 communities so far to begin to overturn the 100 years of case law supporting “corporate personhood.” Corporate personhood, in CELDF’s view, forms the foundation of the “crony capitalism” that has begun to bring folks together across the partisan divide to protect our land and water.  Can the CELDF model for local control help us continue to build a broad independent populist alliance in Texas? More details next week!

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Water Heating Up on Prop 6 – Vote NO!

The water is heating up on Prop 6 and the Governor’s special interest pals. Isn’t it fun to make Perry jump in to defend his Prop 6?

Check out this KTRH report today in Houston, where 1/3 of the voters likely to vote in this election reside:  http://www.ktrh.com/articles/houston-news-121300/texans-willing-to-spend-rainy-day-11706171/

We are calling out the troops to defeat this dangerous amendment designed to divert $2B from the Rainy Day Fund for Perry’s cronies in real estate and related industries, urban ratepayers and rural folks be damned.

Join us this Saturday at 9 am for a statewide conference call.  We have a specific plan for how we’re going to take down Prop 6, despite the very big money backing it.  It can be done, but not without YOU!

If you want to join the call, send an email to us at ljcurtis@indytexans.org or call us at 512-535-0989.

Save the Date!  We will converge upon San Antonio on Monday, October 14th at 10 am for a press conference in the downtown area.  See if you can get there please.  We will help with hooking up a ride for you, if you need assistance.

If your organization has endorsed a “Vote No on Pop 6”, please let us know by calling or emailing us.

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An Open Letter to Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, House Speaker Straus and Texas Legislators

Click here for the letter with signatures, posted below.  Letter to Lt. Governor, Speaker of the Texas House and Texas Legislators

Dear Speaker, Lt. Governor and Legislators:

We visited your offices today, realizing you were busy with the current Special Session.  However, we ask for your help to secure public hearings for Texans immediately following this Special Session – in the communities affected, starting with East Texas — who have suffered from the abuse of eminent domain in our great state.  One of these individuals is a signatory of this letter, Julia Trigg Crawford, a farmer from Lamar County.

It is our understanding that Lt. Governor Dewhurst and/or House Speaker Straus, in order to secure these hearings, must call for an Interim Study, when the Legislature is not in session. Governor Perry recently put rumors to rest about adding to the Call.  However, rumors abound that there could be an additional Special Session beginning just after July 4th.  Therefore, we are asking for your commitment now for an Interim Study, for hearings to begin immediately following this session and for you to urge that the Governor hold on any additional sessions.

As you know, Texas eminent domain laws do not provide due process for individuals until after their land is seized.  This is where the problem begins.  There is also a list of problems that were heard in committee in the regular session, but there was not enough support to pass them.  We believe public hearings would help bring about the support needed to secure passage in the next session.

We urge that the hearings for the Interim Study we ask for begin immediately in East Texas along the route of the TransCanada/Keystone XL Pipeline.  This pipeline is due for completion sometime early next year.  It is our additional concern that Landowners, together with Towns, Cities and Counties along the route, may be inadequately prepared for emergency measures needed if there is a pipeline breach.  The fact that the pipeline is carrying diluted bitumen under high pressure, which carries particular dangers to health, safety and our water supply, has somehow been lost in the eminent domain shuffle.  Moreover, given the high profile of Texas water availability, we believe that the protection of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which serves 10-12 million people, and which is traversed by this pipeline, deserves a special look by the Legislature.  Last, the recent anomalies in new pipeline being laid by TransCanada were in the press last week.  This points to the immediate need for hearings and full public disclosure.  These landowners and nearby residents deserve at least this much.

Sincerely,

Debra Medina, We Texans

Julia Trigg Crawford, Landowner, Lamar County

Jim Hightower

 

 

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Plan now dudes in the legislature!

Just moments ago a bad bill on eminent domain and pipelines was pulled on a point of order in the House. Nice!

ON THE WATER FRONT: 

Read this piece in the Austin-American Statesman, then call or contact your legislators and ask them to stand tall on this issue.  Legislators can focus on conserving water first!  For pennies on the dollar, fixing leaky pipes and getting everyone — the municipalities and large agricultural entities, in particular — to conserve, must be done now.  Do not spend tax dollars on building pipelines to drain rural Texas dry, potentially doing great harm to our aquifers and landowners.  And for the small towns that need help, our understanding is that there are low interest loans available to them already.  If someone tells you differently, we’d like to hear what they have to say.  The bottom line is that building costly infrastructure won’t make it rain.  It doesn’t appear we’re going to get much of that over the next few years, until the lege meets again.

Plan now dudes in the legislature!  More soon…

Latest Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Legislative Update is here.

BASTROP & LEE COUNTY MEETING REMINDER!
Wednesday, May 8th, 6 pm
First National Bank in Elgin
1312 Highway 290 map here

This meeting is to prepare you for the May 15th, 5 pm hearing of the
Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District at the Bastrop Convention Center.

Hope to see you Bastrop and Lee County folks next Wednesday!

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Call off the hogs! Legislative Update & Action & Bastrop/Lee Meeting Notice!

What’s the difference between a feral hog and a water marketer?  The hog only wants what he can eat.

The Texas legislative session is down to the wire — May 27th is sine die (the last day of the session).  Will the legislature provide any protections at all for Texans and their land, water and roads?  Or will they fail us again, like so many times before?

Let’s just spell it out for them and see if they can get their priorities in order these last few weeks.

ON WATER:  Tell your legislator that you want protections for aquifers and landowners living over them.  House Bill 3250 should move out of the Natural Resources Committee NOW!  Everyone — including “Big Ag” and Big Cities — needs to conserve now, before they move water and drain rural Texas dry.  Click here for details.

ON EMINENT DOMAIN/PIPELINE REFORM:  Read this, just in from Debra Medina and We Texans — then, call the Calendars Committee about this eminent domain reform bill.  If all the lege can do to reform the Railroad Commission is a name change, they should all be put to pasture with the feral hogs!

ON PROTECTING SMALL FARMERS:  Read this, just in from Judith McGeary and Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance — stop the despicable attempts by agribusiness to crush their small farmer competitors with these absurd regulations!  No matter where you live in Texas, call your Texas House and Texas Senate members now!!!

ON ROADS:  Boy howdy, hallejuah, State Senator Eltife has been honest with us about road funding.  He says we need to go back to pay as you go and ask the citizens for tax money — and stop hiding it in mountains of debt.  Read this!  

Will the legislature put a plan to move $5.7 billion from the Rainy Day Fund on the ballot in November for roads, water infrastructure (including pipelines to move our groundwater) and a pittance to public education?

This should just about make everyone’s day for the 2014 statewide election.

Keep calling y’all!

BASTROP/LEE COUNTY MEETING NOTICE:   Independent Texans will hold an important strategy meeting for Lee and Bastrop County residents on Wednesday, May 8th, 6-7:30 pm at the First National Bank in Elgin, 1312 US 290, map here.

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