H.R. 4032, North Texas Invasive Species Barrier Act of 2014

H.R. 4032

North Texas Invasive Species Barrier Act of 2014

Sponsor
Rep. Ralph Hall

Date
April 28, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On the House will consider H.R. 4032, the North Texas Invasive Species Barrier Act of 2014, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4032 was introduced on February 11, 2014 by Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) and was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.  The bill was marked up on March 13, 2014 and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.[1]   H.R. 4032 was also referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which discharged the bill on April 10, 2014.

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[1] Committee Report 113-413, Part I.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4032 exempts from the Lacey Act certain water transfers by the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) and the Greater Texoma Utility Authority.  The water transfers will occur in closed conveyance systems that transport water directly from the intake point to the treatment facility, where all “injurious species” prohibited by the Lacey Act are removed from the water.

Background

The Lacey Act, in part, prohibits “injurious species” from being imported into the U.S. or transported across state lines.[1]  In 1999, the Texas and Oklahoma legislatures changed the permanent boundary between the states.  Federal legislation was enacted approving the change in 2000.  Due to the new boundary, the Texoma Pump Station—which had supplied vast amounts of water from Lake Texoma to the North Texas area—became located, instead, in Oklahoma.  Water from Lake Texoma previously met 28% of the region’s water needs, but the discovery of “injurious species” in the lake prevented the NTMWD from using the pump to provide water from Lake Texoma to North Texas—as the transport of the “injurious” species from Oklahoma to Texas would violate the Lacey Act.

The NTMWD has been unable to utilize water from Lake Texoma for over five years, and “the severe drought of 2011 made this . . . a near catastrophe.”[2]  Thus, the NTMWD “design[ed] and construct[ed] a closed pipeline to transfer all Lake Texoma water directly to the NTMWD water treatment plant at a cost of over $300 million.”[3]  Federal legislation enacted in 2013 exempted from the Lacey Act the transfer of one species, as the Fish and Wildlife Service had indicated the new pipeline would violate the Lacey Act.[4]  Recent developments indicate additional species found in Lake Texoma may soon be listed as “injurious.”  H.R. 4032 would exempt from the Lacey Act water transfers that could include these species, as long as the water is pumped directly from the intake site to the treatment facility, where the species are removed from the water.

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[1] Id. at 1-2. “[I]njurious wildlife are amphibians, birds, crustaceans, fish, mammals, mollusks, reptiles and their offspring that are injurious to the interests of human beings, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, wildlife, or wildlife resources of the [U.S.]” Id.
[2] Id. at 3.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 4032 would have no significant effect on the federal budget.  The bill would not affect direct spending and any impact on revenues would be negligible.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.