Today, the House voted to pass H.R. 6007, the North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 2012, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Hall (TX-04). This bill allows the North Texas Municipal Water District to pump water from Lake Texoma straight into the Wylie, Texas Water Treatment Plant. There, the water can be cleaned of zebra mussels without being in violation of the Lacey Act. The bill passed by voice vote.
On the House Floor, Rep. Hall stated, "North Texas has a serious problem with an invasive aquatic species called the zebra mussel. Zebra mussels will attach to just about anything -- they infest and cover rocks, attach to boats and docks, and clog water pipelines. North Texas has a unique situation due to a Texas/Oklahoma boundary change that requires a Congressional solution. You know you hear people say, 'It would take an act of Congress' to get something accomplished - well, this is what we're doing today."
Hall continued, "Our local water folks have been working extremely hard to prevent the spread of zebra mussels - while simultaneously attempting to provide enough clean water to our citizens, but they need our help...These folks have tackled and solved this problem, and now they need our support."
In the late 1980's the North Texas Municipal Water District built the Lake Texoma Pump Station to better serve its users. The station was built entirely within the Texas border and in accordance with the Army Corps of Engineers 1939 survey, which defined the Texas and Oklahoma boundary line.
In 2000, a variation in the Texas-Oklahoma border was enacted into law that caused the pump station to straddle the two states. When zebra mussels appeared in Lake Texoma in 2009, use of the water pump station was effectively banned due to the Lacey Act - a bill that prohibits the transfer of zebra mussels across state lines. The North Texas Municipal Water District generally receives 28% of its water supply from Lake Texoma.
"H.R. 6007 will enable the Water District to resume pumping water to better serve more than 1.5 million users and do so in a manner that provides safe water in the tradition of its 20 year history. This bill will allow the Texoma Water Pump to reopen, provide much-needed jobs, and provide enough clean water to the community during a season of severe drought - when water is desperately needed.
"This is a common-sense solution, a necessary solution, and one that helps restore North Texas's water supply."