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Stand up for your rights (or sit down)

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Stand up for your rights (or sit down)

April 10, 2019 - 00:00
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VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS: MANAGING EDITOR VINCE LEIBOWITZ

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Sometime last year, one of our longtime readers, Greg Fore, brought me a wooden spoon. Some of you who have visited with me in our offices have seen it sitting on the shelf behind my desk.

On it is written, “keep stirring.”

Above that, a line is drawn with the phrase, “don’t let it boil over.”

I can’t remember what pot we were stirring when Greg brought that spoon by, but the caution that we journalists must stir to uncover what is beneath the surface without ourselves causing it to boil over is an important and valid caution.

This week, we are turning up the heat and asking you to help us keep stirring.

It’s time for the pot to boil over on Skull Creek. It needs to. It is time.

On this page, an editorial calls on our legislators to use every tool available to them to ensure the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is put up for immediate Sunset Review in the 2019-2020 cycle. On page 9, you will read that our State Senator, Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brehnam) supports bringing TCEQ up for sunset review at the earliest opportunity, and learn how the Sunset process works.

The 2019-2020 review process is the earliest opportiunity. Subjecting the agency to Sunset Review is the best way for the Legislature to get a handle on the agency, and fix this busted and broken paper tiger.

But you need to apply pressure, and keep this pot boiling over.

Call your legislators. Call the chair and vice chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development. Tell them you want to see TCEQ in the 2019-2020 Sunset cycle. Their numbers appear in this column, along with a script to help you talk to their staff.

No one else will stand up for our natural resources in Colorado County if we do not.

Stand up, or sit down, shut up, and live with the degradation of your land, air, and water. Those are your choices.

Nearly 210 years ago to the day, Thomas Jefferson said that the care of human life is the first and only legitimate object of good government.

If you want good government, you have to work for it. Pick up your phone and get to work.

“The care of human life & happiness, & not their destruction, is the first & only legitimate object of good government.”

—Thomas Jefferson, to the Republicans of Washington County, Maryland, March 31, 1809.

 

HOW TO TAKE ACTION: 

 

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS

 

COLORADO COUNTY

Sen. Lois Kolkorst: 512-463-0118

Rep. Ben Leman: 512-463-0600

 

TEXAS SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

 

Sen. Brian Birdwell, Chair: 512-463-0122

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, Vice Chair: 512-463-0121

 

SUGGESTED SCRIPT

 

“Hi, my name is ___________________, and I am a resident of Colorado County, Texas. I am concerned that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is failing Texans. We have had a major environmental calamity along Skull Creek in Colorado County, and after TCEQ’s poor response to that incident, I believe bringing the agency up for immediate Sunset Review is vital to protect our environment and get a handle on the problems this agency seems to have. I am asking [insert name of legislator here] to sponsor an amendment to add TCEQ to the 2019-2020 Sunset Review process when the final Sunset bill comes before the Texas Legislature this session. Will you please take this down and pass it on to [insert name of legislator here]? I would appreciate a response from [insert name of legislator here] on what the Senator/Representative’s position is on this matter.”

Vince Leibowitz is Managing Editor of The Citizen and lives in Columbus. Connect with Vince on social media: http://fb.com/VLeibowitz or http://twitter.com/VinceLeibowitz or http://instagram.com/vinceleibowitz