1117 West 5th Street Austin, Texas 78703 REALTOR Representing all types of properties in Austin and Central Texas interesting & unusual property a specialty. 477-3651 .\\.t1 and Associates E A timely print job means nothing if it doesn’t make it to the post office on time. Our people do what it .takes to make your deadline. We can do the whole job from computer mailing list production and printing to labeling and delivery. Call Futura at 389-1500. Em loyee Owned and Managed COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AUSTIN, TEXAS 3019 Alvin DeVane, Suite 500 389-1500 Data Processing Typesetting Printing Mailing Busloads of landowners, some whose property wasn’t even on a river proposed for protection, came to the hearings and objected to the bill. Most thought the legislation would result in the loss of their land. Ken Kramer, lobbyist for the Sierra Club’s state conservation office, told the Congress attendees that urban area legislators sympathetic to protecting rivers were “surprised, shocked, and stunned at the vehemence of some of the farmers, ranchers, and other property owners speaking against the bill.” But the property owners were actually only a small portion of those who opposed the bill. The strongest opposition to it was in behind-the-scenes lobbying by a variety of businesses and utilities, interests that had a devastating impact. Two known Senate advocates withdrew their support and the House committee unfavorably amended the bill. The business lobby’s assault on the rivers bill was based on “economic development” the buzz word of the 70th legislative session. ‘Protecting Texas rivers, and the effects of damming, dredging, and land development, they said, would cripple the ability of existing businesses to thrive and discourage new businesses from coming to Texas. Utilities warned that they would not be able to supply power and water to meet the growth needs of Texans if reservoir building was restricted on any portion of Texas waterways. When supporters countered that the protected rivers would bring tourist dollars to Texas, landowners complained that tourists would increase the litter along rivers. Kramer believes the farmers and ranchers were used by the more powerful business interests. “There are very few ways that land can be taken by eminent domain in Texas, and one is for reservoir construction,” Kramer said. The very bill they were protesting might actually protect them from losing their land for reservoir construction. The bill was revised many times in efforts to meet the concerns of opponents, but each time there were new reasons to oppose the river system legislation. In the end, supporters settled for a promise from sponsors to continue the struggle in 1989. Kramer explained the revised bill to members of the River Congress. The new legislation will still protect rivers from reservoir building and channel dredging, as well as precluding condemnation of private lands. The bill includes strong penalties for trespassing and a mechanism to accept land gifts for conservation easements and public access. New in the bill this time is a requirement that the Parks and Wildlife Department, with participation from citizens and businesses, develop management plans for protected rivers. In addition, it tentatively proposes six segments to be protected in starting up the river system. Besides Buffalo Bayou, these include portions of the Lower Colorado, the Upper Guadalupe, the upper Neches, the Elm Fork of the Trinity, and the San Marcos. In the last legislative session conservationists and environmentalists waged a lowkey battle for rivers protection legislation. This time they are determined to raise the issue early and solicit support widely. The Sierra Club has obtained a business-backed grant to fund direct mail updates on the progress of rivers legislation to their supporters. Kramer asked for help in soliciting names for this list. “One of the best benefits [of working on the River’s bill],” he said at the San Antonio Congress, “is being able to preserve, not only for yourself in future years, but for future generations, those things like our rivers, which you’ve come to enjoy and value in Texas.” Please Support Our Advertisers FOR LIBERAL PORTIONS AT CONSERVATIVE PRICES * REMEMBER SCHOLZ GARDEN * * 1607 San Jacinto * 477.4171 * CCIAR1131PN Listed On The National Register of Historic Places “Go gather by the humming sea Some twisted, echo-harboring shell, And to it all thy secrets tell” W. B. Yeats P.O. Box 8 Port Aransas, TX 78373 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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