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North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I, of course, rise today in support of H.R. 6007, the North Texas Zebra Mussel Barrier Act of 2012. When I read in the papers and hear in the press that Republicans and Democrats can't get together on anything, well, we're together on something today, and I think the gentlemen have adequately described the enemy.

North Texas has a very serious problem with an invasive aquatic species called zebra mussel. I'd never heard of them before. I hope I never hear of them again. Zebra mussels are going to attach to probably 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 takes an act of Congress to get something accomplished. Well, that's exactly what we're here doing today.

The local water folks have been working extremely hard to prevent the spread of zebra mussels while simultaneously attempting to provide enough clean water for our citizens, but they absolutely need our help. They need this help. H.R. 6007 allows the North Texas Municipal Water District to pump water from Lake Texoma straight into the Wylie, Texas, Water Treatment Plant where the water can be cleaned of zebra mussels without being in violation of the Lacey Act. These folks are the only ones who have tackled and solved this problem. They're not the only ones who have tackled it, but they're the only ones who have solved this problem. It has been at their own expense, and they have solved it. Now they need our support.

In the late 1980s, the North Texas Municipal Water District built the Lake Texoma pump station to better serve its use. This 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, and the pump station ended up straddling the two States. Since the Lacey Act prohibits the transfer of zebra mussels across State lines, it effectively has banned the use of the Texoma water pump station since the year 2009, which was when zebra mussels first appeared in Lake Texoma. The North Texas Municipal Water District generally receives 28 percent 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 to do so in a manner that provides safe water in the tradition of its 20-year history. The bill will allow the Texoma water pump to reopen, to provide much-needed jobs and to provide enough clean water to the community during a season of very severe drought, when water is desperately needed.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.

Mr. HALL. On May 3 of this year, the Army Corps of Engineers approved a 404 permit that will allow the construction of a 46-mile water pipeline from Lake Texoma straight into the Wylie Water Treatment Plant, which would remove 100 percent of the zebra mussels and would provide clean water for North Texas citizens and businesses.

This is a commonsense solution, a necessary solution and one for which I certainly want to thank the chairman, Doc Hastings.


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