House committee to hold hearing Tuesday on Brazos bill

The Brazos in Palo Pinto County. Photo by Kathryn Jones

The Brazos River in Palo Pinto County has been designated part of the John Graves Scenic Riverway.

Photo by Kathryn Jones

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

A bill to extend the John Graves Scenic Riverway designation on the Brazos River through Hood and Somervell counties will get a hearing in Austin on Tuesday.

House Bill 1519 has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee. The hearing begins at 8 a.m. Read the notice of hearing for details.

The bill was authored by State Rep. J.D. Sheffield, who represents Somervell County.

Extending the riverway designation from Palo Pinto and Parker counties into Hood and Somervell would honor Glen Rose resident John Graves and his classic book Goodbye to a River, said Ed Lowe, president of the non-profit Friends of the Brazos. The book describes a canoe trip Graves made more than 60 years ago to see the river one more time before it was dammed and its character changed forever.

The bill also would offer protection from mining operations and recognize the river as a resource deserving protection and restoration for future generations.

The original legislation to create the riverway designation in Palo Pinto and Parker counties passed the Texas House and Senate in 2005. It offered protection from rock mining operations that were dumping mining waste directly into the Brazos or its tributaries in Palo Pinto and Parker Counties.

Lowe said that Iris Broyles, a staff member of Friends of the Brazos, in 2011 consulted with county commissioners in Parker and Palo Pinto Counties “to determine if there had been any adverse impact on legitimate operators.

“They reported no negative economic impact on the rock/gravel mining industries in their counties in the six years since the bill was enacted,” Lowe said.

Despite that, Lowe said it’s likely that gravel and rock mining lobbyists will appear at the hearing to oppose the riverway extension.

 

 

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