On Monday, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 6007, the North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 2012, with the support of U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03). Sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), this bill would allow the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) and the Greater Texoma Utility Authority (GTUA) to pump water from Lake Texoma to the treatment facility in Wylie without suffering penalties under the Lacey Act.
The presence of the zebra mussel, an invasive aquatic species, has prevented the NTMWD and GTUA from pumping water from the lake -- a primary source of water for North Texas -- for 3 years. The Lacey Act prohibits the transfer of water containing such species over state lines. Due to a variation in the Texas-Oklahoma border in 2000, the Lake Texoma Pump Station ended up straddling both states, rendering water transport in violation of the Lacey Act. Each violation can carry a penalty up to $500,000.
This bill would allow the water district to resume pumping water from Lake Texoma to the Wylie Water Treatment Plant, where it can be treated and cleaned of zebra mussels.
"I hope this simple fix quickly becomes law," said Johnson. "This bill is crucial in providing North Texans with much-needed relief after suffering through several consecutive dry summers."