Hegar Rejects White List Proposal at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

State Senator says concept is unrealistic approach for Texas

Austin, Texas Today, Texas State Senator Glenn Hegar called on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Executive Director, Carter Smith, to forego further work and cease implementation on the proposed aquatic plant species “white list” and the accompanying rules. Senator Hegar will sponsor a bill during the current legislative session that clarifies this request in statute.

“While I certainly think that a great deal of progress has been made, I am not confident that the arrived-upon proposal is enforceable or realistic for Texas. With the list and rules now complete, it is clear that approval of this measure would severely impact our state’s economy and the biofuel, nursery, and gardening industries across the state,” said Senator Hegar.

Through House Bill 3391 of the 81st Legislature, TPWD was directed to establish a “white list” of non-native aquatic plants approved for sale or possession in Texas. The process proved onerous as stakeholders continually came forth with new concerns and species not yet included. In September 2010, with the deadline fast approaching and the list not yet complete, Senator Hegar granted the Department a time extension in an effort to ensure that all necessary information was considered in the creation of the “white list.”

In his letter to TPWD requesting they forego further work on the “white list”, Hegar acknowledged the hard work and countless hours spent compiling a “white list” and commended the Department for their sincere and diligent collaboration with stakeholders throughout the process, but was clear that the project should be abandoned in the face of his and many others strong and decided view that it is simply not a viable solution.

“I don’t believe any of us understood the full scope and significant ramifications that adoption of a white list would present. It is my hope that we can continue to work toward a common-sense solution to prevent the introduction of invasive plants into Texas while still protecting the environment and economy of Texas,” Hegar said. “It is vital that we continue to make a proactive effort to ensure that the natural resources across this state are protected for generations to come.”

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Senator Hegar served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives and now represents Senate District 18 in the Texas Senate. Senate District 18 contains over one-third of the Texas coastline. He is a sixth generation Texan, and earns a living farming on land that has been in his family since the mid 1800’s. He currently resides in Katy, Texas with his wife Dara, and their three children, Claire, Julia, and Jonah.

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