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Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

By Mike Barnett

It looks like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to flood agriculture into submission with its revisions of the Clean Water Act.

This map, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and updated for EPA, shows locations and flow patterns of waterways in Texas.

At first glance, it looks innocent enough. Where it gets problematic is how it could be used.

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‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

By Jay Bragg

Recently, 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio were without drinking water due to dangerously high levels of cyanotoxin in Lake Erie, produced by excessive amounts of blue-green algae.  National news outlets were quick to point their fingers at agriculture, picking up on the talking points of local politicians, activist groups, and pseudo-scientists.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins was quoted by the Los Angeles Times: “Once we clear this problem up, that is not going to eliminate the algae problem in the western basin of Lake Erie; that is not going to eliminate the agricultural runoff; that is not going to eliminate mega-farming.”

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Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

Pray El Niño pays Texas a visit

By Kenneth Dierschke
TFB President

I read recently that climatologists are predicting a 70 percent chance for El Niño to develop this year in the Pacific Ocean. I hope they are wrong. What we need is a 100 percent chance.

El Niño is the warming of the central and eastern Pacific Oceans. It alters the jet stream flow across the United States and helps bring wetter-than-normal weather to Texas.

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Spring means property tax deadlines

Spring means property tax deadlines

By Gary Joiner

Taxes are on the minds of many Texans right now. “Tax Day” is April 15. It’s the deadline to file a federal individual tax return or request a filing extension.

Texas landowners are also thinking about property taxes this time of year. Many are completing applications and forms in advance of an important May 1 deadline. It’s the day farmers and ranchers must have filed paperwork with their local appraisal district to qualify for a special property valuation.

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Texas groundwater takes center stage…again

Texas groundwater takes center stage…again

By Billy Howe
TFB State Legislative Director

During the 2013 session of the Texas Legislature, funding the State Water Plan was at center stage. And rightfully so, considering this drought has brought into focus how unprepared our state is for a record drought with a growing population.

However, behind the scenes there were several contentious groundwater issues as well. Legislation was debated on reporting groundwater usage to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), providing the TWDB with more oversight of local groundwater conservation districts, mandating criteria for local districts to use in permitting the production of brackish groundwater, and requiring local districts to issue long-term permits to produce groundwater.

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Voters said ‘Yes’ for the future of Texas

Voters said ‘Yes’ for the future of Texas

By Mike Barnett

Despite last minute attempts to dampen support, a flood of positive votes ensured passage of Proposition 6, the important water funding constitutional amendment on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Proposition 6 is not a panacea for a serious problem, but it is the huge first step in ensuring water for Texas’ future. The 73 to 27 percent margin by which it passed shows that if you challenge Texans, they will tackle problems head on instead of shifting blame or leaving them for future generations to solve.

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