- by/Walt West
In today’s Lufkin Daily (9/16/06) classified sec; is notice of petition to create transfer from a water supply corporation to a special utility district. It reads as follows. “The nature of the services to be provided by the 4-Way Special Utility District is to purchase, own, hold, lease, and otherwise acquire sources of water supply; to build, operate and maintain facilities for the transportation of water, and to sell water to individuals, towns, cities, private business entities, and other political subdivisions of the State.”
Note that the district boundaries are adjacent to lake Sam Rayburn in two areas. The boundary is adjacent to the reservoir in the vicinity of SH-103 and City of Huntington. The boundary includes a corridor along SH-103 into and through the City of Lufkin.
Obviously, the creation of this district sets the stage for using Sam Rayburn water to satisfy the demands of other regions and municipalities within the state, and entities who seek to make a profit from a public resource. Note that the Canadian owned Lufkin Paper Mill which has not been in operation since December of 2003 has wells that produced 20,000,000 gallons per day to support their operation. Common sense and a sense of fiscal responsibility would require utilizing the same 20,000,000 gallon per day source of water that the mill has used in the past to accommodate regional water needs. Instead, the stage is being set to accommodate the water demands of interests who have no regard for the invaluable economic asset to this region created by Sam Rayburn and the inherent attraction of recreational opportunities and aesthetic values - if Sam Rayburn is maintained at viable pool levels. Angelina County tax returns have been consistently increasing by significant margins and are undoubtedly driven by the purchasing power of a retirement community and others who are recreating on and attracted by Sam Rayburn - without any real increase in local industries.
Sam Rayburn is currently 3.3 feet below pool level and additional demands have the potential to destroy a variety of enterprises that are directly, and indirectly, dependent upon the recreational opportunities that Rayburn provides. The proposed district creation should be recognized as a real threat to the Goose (Sam Rayburn) that is providing the Golden Egg to the regions economic interests and to the interests of ordinary citizens.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir water usage is already satisfying the objectives that justified its creation.
The public has 30 days from today to request a contested case hearing from The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. This does not mean you will get one - it just means Texas law says you have 30 days to make a request. Written requests for a contested case hearing must include your name, address, phone number, the group or association you represent (if any), how you would be affected in a way not common to the general public, and the location of your property relative to the proposed districts boundaries. They should be addressed to: Office of the Chief Clerk, MC-105, TCEQ, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087 -Regards-Walt West