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Friends,

Your help is needed to get HB 2716 passed in the House of Representative of the Texas Legislature. This bill would restore Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s ability to participate in contested case hearings which come before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

This is a little complicated but you are very good as a legislative advocate so stay with me here.

All state agencies go through Sunset evaluation to justify their actions. In 2011, the TCEQ Sunset Reauthorization bill restricted TPWD from participating in TCEQ hearings – even when the consideration would impact TPWD operated land, fish and wildlife resources. This has impaired TPWD’s ability to carry out its mission of protecting Texas’ land and natural resources. HB 2716 would reinstate TPWD providing expert input into permit hearings.

HB 2716 has been passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee and now has gone to the Calendars Committee.

Stay with me now because here is how you may affect the passage of HB 2716.

1. Contact the House Members on the Calendars Committee and request that HB 2716 be moved to the floor for a vote. That’s all you have to say when you contact them by phone or email.

Here is the link to House Committees, https://house.texas.gov/committees/committee/?committee=C050, and then click on Calendars for the members of the Calendars Committee. Contact each one. Simple!

2. Contact Members of the Texas House, especially your Representative, to ask them to support passing HB 2716. That’s all you have to say, “Please support the passage of HB 2716 to allow TPWD to participate in hearings before TCEQ”.

You can do it! Here are my comments to the House Natural Resources Committee on getting HB 2716 voted out of committee:

"TPWD is responsible for managing and conserving Texas' natural resources so it is imperative the Department be a party to permitting actions which affect the State's natural resources coming before TCEQ.   Environmental permits, water rights and in some cases, waste discharge permits could affect wildlife habitats the Department is charged with protecting and it is only right the Department should participate with TCEQ in the permitting process.  Please reinstate this cooperative agency oversight by passing HB 2716."  Michael Banks, DDS, Friends of the Neches River

If you have any questions or concerns, let me know and we will work it out so you may submit your input.

Thank you.

Michael Banks

Jacksonville, Texas

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