King introduces groundwater district bill in House

April 19, 2007

Weatherford Democrat

Staff Reports

State Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford) officially unveiled legislation designed to create a groundwater conservation district in Parker and Wise counties Wednesday.

House Bill 4052 was written in response to the concerns of area residents, local elected officials and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regarding increasing use of groundwater due to population growth and Barnett Shale drilling.

King met with local elected officials and gathered input over the past several months before helping to craft the bill’s language.

“Water is a scarce resource in Texas, particularly in Parker and Wise counties,” King said in a statement. “My legislation brings area stakeholders together to manage a critical community resource — water — because natural resources are a vital anchor to our economic future.”

Though commissioners expressed frustration at the absence of language in the bill granting a local groundwater conservation district additional authority to regulate oil and gas related users, the Parker County Commissioners Court granted a “general” stamp of approval to the bill earlier this month.

“This legislation reflects earnest work by residents and officials of Parker and Wise counties, resulting in a plan that helps our area to thrive for many years to come.”

King’s bill is expected to receive a favorable committee vote next week and then go before the full Texas legislature. County Judge Mark Riley, Parker County Commissioner Joe Brinkley and Wise County Commissioner Kevin Burns each delivered testimony in support King’s legislation.