Action Alert: Oppose HB 2827 to Protect Greater Waco’s Water Supply

ACT NOW — Oppose HB 2827 to Protect Greater Waco’s Water Supply

On behalf of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Committee, we are alerting our Greater Waco Chamber membership to oppose pending state legislation in the Texas House of Representatives. HB 2827 seeks to undo permitting requirements that protect the quality of the North Bosque River watershed, Lake Waco and ultimately our Greater Waco region’s water supply.

Prior to 2001, runoff of manure from dairy farms along the North Bosque River watershed entered Lake Waco, polluting Waco’s water supply. The result was a surge of algae growth which killed fish and contributed to the bad smell and taste of our water. In 2001, the City of Waco successfully advocated for the passage of state legislation mandating stricter permits for dairies in the North Bosque watershed, along with waste management regulations. The resulting legislation dramatically improved Waco’s water quality, but a 2022 Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) report states additional work remains to improve the water supply.

The pending HB 2827 legislation would be a significant step backward in improving the North Bosque River watershed and Lake Waco water supply in three primary ways:

  1. Moves back to the problematic pre-2001 General Permitting process versus the current Individual Permitting process which has drastically improved the water quality of the North Bosque River and Lake Waco.
  2. Removes the public input process for permitting within the impaired North Bosque River watershed.
  3. Removes phosphorous sampling/testing requirements and eliminates action plan requirements, which directly conflicts with the North Bosque River TMDL Implementation Plan. This will weaken efforts to protect and improve water quality in the river and ultimately Waco’s water supply.

Importantly, a quality water supply plays a critical role in not only the Greater Waco region’s quality of life but also in building and growing a diverse and powerful regional economy. The Greater Waco region’s food and beverage industry represents over $600 million in capital investments, supports more than 9,000 direct and indirect jobs and has an annual economic impact of over $1.25 billion that will be directly impacted if HB 2827 is enacted. If the Greater Waco region is to continue building a livable and economically vibrant mid-market region in Texas, HB 2827 must be defeated.

As of May 3, the Texas House Committee on Environmental Regulations passed this bill favorably with no amendments despite the committee not hearing or considering TCEQ’s analysis of the impacts of the bill. It is now scheduled for a vote on the Texas House floor on Thursday, May 4. If HB 2827 passes the Texas House, it will move forward for consideration by the Texas Senate.

The Greater Waco Chamber Public Policy Committee is urging our fellow Chambers members to take action and oppose HB 2827. Our opposition is essential to protect the Greater Waco region’s water supply. Please add your support to the letter of opposition to HB 2827.

We also encourage you to directly reach out to the authors of HB 2827 and our Greater Waco delegation to voice your opposition to this harmful legislation:

Bill Authors:

Rep. DeWayne Burns (HD-58) | (512) 463-0538
Rep. Shelby Slawson (HD-59) | (512) 463-0628

Greater Waco Delegation:

Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson (HD-56) | (512) 463-0135
Rep. Angelia Orr (HD-13) | (512) 463-0600
Sen. Brian Birdwell (SD-22) | (512) 463-0122

For more information, contact:
Jacob Hogan, Director of Public Policy & Chamber Foundation | (254) 757-5631

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