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Public Statements

North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Chairman Ralph Hall's bill to provide relief to 1.6 million people living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area necessitated because of a bizarre set of circumstances.

In 1989, the North Texas Municipal Water District constructed a pumping station in Lake Texoma, providing up to 125 million gallons per day of safe drinking water to one of the most rapidly growing regions in the country, the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Sometime later, the enactment of a boundary adjustment resulted in a small portion of the pumping station being shifted from Texas to Oklahoma. In 2009, zebra mussels were discovered in the lake. This has caused a significant problem because it is in violation of the Lacey Act to transport zebra mussels across State lines.

So, to resolve this, the Water District has proposed to construct a $300 million, 46-mile closed pipeline that will transport Lake Texoma water to its treatment facility in Wylie, Texas. All zebra mussels will then be destroyed there, and the entire effort will be accomplished without any cost to Federal taxpayers.

This project was issued a section 404 Clean Water Act permit in May, and it was supported by the U.S. Wildlife Service district office in Arlington, Texas. However, as happens so many times, the Washington, D.C., headquarters of Fish and Wildlife is not so supportive and has suggested what it describes as a nonlegislative solution: an agreement with the Justice Department not to prosecute North Texas Municipal Water District for transporting zebra mussels.

Now, just think about this, Mr. Speaker. As someone who believes that we are a Nation of law, I am deeply troubled by the notion that a Federal agency would suggest that it would not seek to prosecute, under the law, those who may violate the law. I just think that's the wrong approach, and this approach is the right approach.

So I urge adoption of H.R. 6007, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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