By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Both the board of the BRA and the TCEQ commissioners are Perry appointees. Otherwise, there would not be much to worry about here. Last spring in Austin the BRA and its opponents, including conservation groups, Dow Chemical and agricultural interests, presented more than two weeks of evidence before a state administrative law judge. Some time later the judge issued a ruling — in effect a recommendation to the TCEQ — that the BRA application be denied.
Rick Lowerre, an attorney representing Friends of the Brazos, says, "Essentially the BRA said, 'Give us this water, and we will surely be able to use it and sell it over the next 50 years.
"It's basically speculation or what I call banking of water. They take over the role of deciding who gets water in the future, and instead of it being a benefit to the public it's whoever has the most money."
Lowerre was gratified, of course, when the judge ruled Lowerre's way. "The judge recommended denial or in the alternative sort of abating everything and letting BRA try again."
But now it goes before the three Perry appointees on the TCEQ commission, who are not bound by the judge's recommendation. Bruun says his understanding is that TCEQ staff will recommend to the commissioners they rule in favor of the BRA.
This is the same TCEQ staff and commission that mishandled federal clean air requirements so egregiously that the regional director of the EPA removed them from clean air management in Texas and took it over himself. That act, of course, put the EPA on the now famous list of federal agencies Perry plans to abolish if elected president.
Bryan W. Shaw, chairman of the commission and a Texas A&M professor, displayed his credentials as steward of the environment by lending full-throated support to Perry's anti-EPA jihad. Buddy Garcia, the second commissioner, put his shoulder to this same wheel. Carlos Rubinstein was a TCEQ staffer for 16 years before being elevated to the commission.
Of course, there is a theoretical possibility that the commissioners will review the findings of the judge and the evidence and find it persuasive. There is also the fact that the opponents of the BRA application have political allies. They are hopeful an array of public and commercial entities may bring pressure on the commission to honor the judge's recommendation.
I just worry we're all going to walk outside one day after a prolonged dry spell when a blessed downpour finally falls from the sky to soothe the parched earth, and the only thing we'll be able to say is, "Oops. Guess that's not ours anymore."
Talk about a legacy. The only thing bigger would be if Perry could sell the air.
i thought perry's owners were mainly interested in staying filthy rich by fouling the air and water and ground until nobody has any left that's usable. if they're starting to try to hoard/control what's left for themselves, then mabe they're showing us that they know all too well how bad they're shitting in the environment with every breath.
Hey Jim, you ever heard of the National Ocean Council which your hero created by executive order. This ain't a grab by any means, it's just an alignment to smooth the way for the Big Green to takeover. You might wanna take a gander at U.N. Treaty 21, this is part of the implemtation of spatiel planning.