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Old 03-24-2011, 01:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

Bob, From the link you posted yesterday, I didn't read anything that was unreasonable in the new bill. Seeing a lot of items removed left a lot more breathing room. I feel that Senator Hegar heard our voices and ratified the issue. I feel that we made great progress with getting the bill changed but it's time to push forward to the next hurdle and not stay on a tangent over Senator Hegar. The power still remains in the hands of TDPW. They black list can change at anytime without prior notice. In theory, TDPW could put every single plant we use on the black list. I feel its time now to focus our efforts now towards TDPW. I feel it would greatly be beneficial to our club, hobby and industry to ally with TDPW as a special interest group that can help them. Gotta remember, Texas politics work in a good ol boy fashion, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. If we are a useful entity to him like being a being a watch dog group for potential harmful plants or help educate the public or some else useful, they may turn a blind eye.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

@Digital gods - I believe the problem lies in the inclusion of the words "potentially harmful" plants. This appears to be new language. We have gained NOTHING if they can put every plant on the list that is "potentially harmful". We have ALREADY been told by TDWP that they view EVERY plant except the ones they can test and as "potentially harmful". It would not be a stretch to have them add every plant we sent them for consideration to their banned list.

I don't think we need to be MAD at anybody. I do think we can voice our opinion on this bill AS WRITTEN and ask questions. Why should we allow someone else's opinion to belong to us, when we don't even know what that opinion is? I, for one, would like some clarification.



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Old 03-24-2011, 02:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

What about suggesting to add another definition for better clarification? Something like "exotic harmful or potentially harmful species" means a nonindigenous species that is not normally found in the public land or water of this state, that pose environmental, economic, or health problems.
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

SB 1480 officially removes the aquatic plant white list from Texas law and returns regulation to a black list. And it appears that when the law goes into effect, the black list in effect before the original effective date of the white list law is back in effect. However the TPWD may change that list at any time.

1) TPWD spent lots of time and money developing a list of “ineligible species”. I would fully expect TPWD to go through whatever administrative process is required to add all of these ineligible species to the black list. As you may recall ineligible species include
Among others:
Cryptocoryne becketti
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Rotala indica
Rotala rotundifolia
Hygrophila difformis

And it is not clear what process would be used to a) add these plants to the black list or b) consider other plants and add to the black list. What would prevent them from black listing every plant not placed previously on the white list? That would surely reduce risk of infestation.

2) Section 4 of the new bill amends section 66.007(C) to remove the following wording that was in the prior bill:
In adopting rules that relate to exotic aquatic plants, the department shall strive to ensure that the rules are as permissive as possible without allowing the importation or possession of plants that pose environmental, economic or health problems.”Note especially the underlined section that states the criteria.

3) Section 8 repeals section 66.007 (n) and (o) which stated in the prior bill
In compiling the approved list, the department shall develop a process to evaluate the potential harm that may be caused by the importation or possession of exotic aquatic plant species into this state. The process must include the use of:
(1) a risk assessment model to help determine the potential harm of a species to the aquatic environment;
(2) published scientific research findings;
(3) Findings from regulatory agencies; or
(4) Scientific analyses from third-party laboratories.

“The approved list must include exotic aquatic plant that:
(1) is widespread in this state; and
(2) is not, as determined by the department, a cause of environmental, economic or health problems.

Note especially the underlined section. While a white list is not being used should not the same logic be applied toward the creation of the black list? That is, what was defined for the white list previously should not be placed on the black list.

4) There is no provision to require the TPWD to provide reasonable cost licenses to responsible aquatic plant licenses to keep other banned plants. (TPWD stated previously license costs are based on the cost on on-site inspection, which would be unnecessary for aquatic plants housed in indoor aquaria). TPWD rules already provide for various groups to be permitted such permits. Shouldn’t we to be afforded the same opportunity?

5) There is no provision for transparency of evaluation methodology and publication of plant analysis results for public review and/or independent third party review.

6) Section 6 provides for a new section 66.0072 which under (d) states “The commission may enact an emergency rule as provided by chapter 2001, Government Code, to add an exotic aquatic plant to the list of prohibited plants if the plant is determined to be harmful or potential harmful[”.
Bob
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

Quote:
Originally Posted by digital_gods View Post
Bob, From the link you posted yesterday, I didn't read anything that was unreasonable in the new bill. Seeing a lot of items removed left a lot more breathing room. I feel that Senator Hegar heard our voices and ratified the issue. I feel that we made great progress with getting the bill changed but it's time to push forward to the next hurdle and not stay on a tangent over Senator Hegar. The power still remains in the hands of TDPW. They black list can change at anytime without prior notice. In theory, TDPW could put every single plant we use on the black list. I feel its time now to focus our efforts now towards TDPW. I feel it would greatly be beneficial to our club, hobby and industry to ally with TDPW as a special interest group that can help them. Gotta remember, Texas politics work in a good ol boy fashion, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. If we are a useful entity to him like being a being a watch dog group for potential harmful plants or help educate the public or some else useful, they may turn a blind eye.
I'm more aligned with you and Jim Reeves way of thinking, but at the same time I understand Bob. On one hand, Jim is a pro when it comes to greasing the wheels, but on the other hand it seems we should make Sen. Hegar aware that we are still paying very close attention to the whole affair. If Jim is making progress, then I don't want to get in his way but neither should we let ourselves be overlooked. We are a very tiny but very real bloc. I'm sure there is a gentle, efficient way to insinuate ourselves into the process.

Perhaps a campaign of individuals and clubs sending letters of support and praise to the Senator and Jim that convivially offer any assistance possible with the process while at the same time delineating our expectations?

In case ya'll forgot, I do live in Austin. Maybe I should schedule a meeting with Jim? Maybe ya'll would like to load me up with talking points, letters, introductions, collateral, etc? I'll do it if as a community you think this is expedient and helpful. I got to meet Dr. Chilton and have a one on one, why not Jim Reaves?
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

Ukamikazu

If you want to speak with Jim Reaves then I say "knock yourself out". I spoke with him today on the phone. He is a professional lobbyist with many years experience and doesn't need our help. He just needs us to stay out of they way so he can get his objectives achieved. Note that his objectives are not well aligned with ours, IMHO. He is a lobbyist for an association of terresterial plant growers/sellers, mostly, with some pond folks. He is pursuing their agenda. He is not interesting in understanding our issues nor pursuing them.

But if you can get him to help in a way that will help us more than he is doing already, then "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!".

Bob
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:23 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

On the previous list, was there any plants on there that is used in the florist trade? If so, lets send one to the Senator. Little humor for us.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:07 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobAlston View Post
Ukamikazu

If you want to speak with Jim Reaves then I say "knock yourself out". I spoke with him today on the phone. He is a professional lobbyist with many years experience and doesn't need our help. He just needs us to stay out of they way so he can get his objectives achieved. Note that his objectives are not well aligned with ours, IMHO. He is a lobbyist for an association of terresterial plant growers/sellers, mostly, with some pond folks. He is pursuing their agenda. He is not interesting in understanding our issues nor pursuing them.

But if you can get him to help in a way that will help us more than he is doing already, then "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!".

Bob
Very well and I take your point. I guess that means we're just along for the ride. Knock on wood, fingers crossed.
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:38 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Here we go - Senate Bill 1480

If the license cost is based on the cost of on-site inspections, that makes it kinda hard to get a license as a club, does it not? (That was going to be my proposed work-around for individuals paying that fee.)
Unless they will view the home aquarium as an enclosed facility (or whatever they have to call it), we'll have to abide by their new black-list. I'll bring the new bill up at the Houston meeting tomorrow and see if we can come up with a club response like you guys did the first go-round.
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