In a love song to the Hill Country, songwriter Kent Finlay sang:
They call it the Hill Country, I call it beautiful;
I’d call it progress if it could be saved.
They call it the Hill Country; I call it home.
But what will we call it when it’s leveled and paved…
Many of us saw the situation in Hays County last year where a corporation bought some land with the aim of selling water that Hays County residents rely on. The legislature fixed the problem in Hays County, but the same problem exists in Travis County. A corporation could buy land at any moment and drain Western Travis county of the water its residents need. To fix this, we must create a groundwater conservation district in the areas of the county that are left unprotected.
When we think of our natural resources, we sometimes think of preserves far out in rural areas, pools and waterways we occasionally visit, and wilderness trails we sometimes hike. Droughts and wildfires over recent years, however, remind us that our natural resources encompass the neighborhoods we live in and impact the vitality of our businesses, our health, and our safety.
Travis County will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, and counties have very limited ability to shape the way that growth occurs outside cities in Texas. I support the current court’s efforts to facilitate growth in designated areas by streamlining processes and infrastructure while directing growth away from sensitive areas. I will use my many years of experience working in the Texas Legislature to fight for limited powers to be granted to Travis County to protect the Hill Country and will work to protect the region’s natural resources.