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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 111

Lake Texana

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7 October 1998


1998 Ron Paul 111:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, moments ago, HR 4570 was described as a “delicate balance” not to be disturbed by votes against either the resolution or the rule. In fact, the primary justification presented for passage of the bill was the “brilliance” with which a compromise securing the necessary number of votes was “engineered.” Statements such as these are an unfortunate commentary on the state of affairs in the nation’s capital insofar as they represent not advancement of sound policy principles but rather a seriously flawed process by which federal government “favors” are distributed in a means which assures everyone gets a little something if they vote to give enough other districts a little something too. This is not the procedure by which Congress should be deciding matters of federal land disposition and acquisition. In fact, there appears to be no Constitutional authority for most of what HR 4570 proposes to do.

1998 Ron Paul 111:2
Particularly frustrating is that in my attempt to return authority to the State of Texas for a water project located in the 14th District, I introduced HR 2161, The Palmetto Bend Title Transfer Project. Return of such authority comports with my Constitutional notion that local control is preferred to unlimited federal authority to dictate from Washington, the means by which a water project in Edna, Texas will be managed. I understand that certain Members of Congress may disagree with the notion of the proper and limited role of the federal government. The point here, however, is that the “political process” embracing the so-called “high virtue of compromise” means that in order for one to vote for less federal authority one must, at the same time, in this bill, vote for more. Political schizophrenia was never more rampant. One would have to vote to authorize the transfer of 377,000 acres of public land in Utah to the federal government (at taxpayer expense of $50 million for Utah’s public schools) in order to return Lake Texana to the State of Texas.Two unrelated issues; two opposite philosophies as to the proper role of the federal government — a policy at odds with itself (unless, of course, compromise is one’s ultimate end).

1998 Ron Paul 111:3
HR 2161 merely facilitates the early payment of the construction costs (discounted, of course, by the amount of interest no longer due as a consequence of early payment) and transfers title of the Palmetto Bend Project to the Texas state authorities. Both the LNRA and TWDB concur that an early buy-out and title transfer is extremely beneficial to the economical and operational well-being of the project as well as the Lake Texana water users. The Texas Legislature and Governor George W. Bush have both formally supported the early payment and title transfer. In fact, even the residents of Highland Lakes in Travis County who initially expressed a concern as to the effects of the title transfer on the Colorado River Basin, came to support the legislation. This bill will save Lake Texana water users as much as one million dollars per year as well as providing an immediate infusion of $43 million dollars to the national treasury. Additionally, all liability associated with this water project are, under my legislation, assumed by the state of Texas thus further relieving the financial burden of the federal government.

1998 Ron Paul 111:4
Texas has already demonstrated sound management of this resource. Recreational use of the lake has been well-provided under Texas state management to include provision of a marina, pavilion, playground, and boating docks, all funded without federal money. Additionally, a woodland bird sanctuary and wildlife viewing area will also be established upon transfer with the assistance of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and several environmental organizations.

1998 Ron Paul 111:5
Members of Congress must not be put in the position of having to support a massive federal land grab to secure for the residents of Texas more local control over their water supply. For these reasons, while I remain committed to the return of Lake Texana to Texas State authorities, I must reluctantly and necessarily oppose HR 4570.

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