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Greens Bayou CC hears legislative update from Representative Armando Walle

EAST ALDINE – The regular meeting of the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition was held last Thursday, with reports from Executive Director Jill Boullion and State Representative Armando Walle.

Boullion reported on several clean-up work sessions. On Oct. 13th GBCC held its fourth clean-up in the West Reach, and planted 25 new trees. On Nov. 3rd, a work session was held in the East Reach, and with the help of Waste Management, cleaned Gardner’s Bayou and planted 50 new trees.

Boullion said that the technical services grant with the National Park Service had been renewed, and that GBCC was working on a paddle trail with the help of the Texas Parks and Wildlife department.

State Representative Armando Walle gave the group a preview of the next legislative session, which is due to start on January 8th in Austin. Walle is currently on the Insurance, Homeland Security, and Natural Resources committees.

Walle said the main issues that the legislature will deal with are Transportation, School Finance, Healthcare, and Water. Although the state will have more revenue this session that they had in the last session two years ago, nevertheless distribution of this money and adequate funding of these issues will be difficult and contentious, he thought.

For instance, transportation is underfunded, he said, and he expects fees will be increased for drivers license and tolls, to help pay for road construction and maintenance.

“Water will be a big issue in the next session,” he said. With population due to double in Texas by the year 2060, from 25 million to 50 million, this asset must be managed better. And the new process of recovering oil by “fracking” uses a lot of water, too.

Walle mentioned a bill that will be considered, that he thought the GBCC would be interested in, a so-called “bottle bill.” This would require a deposit on plastic and glass bottles, and drink cans, with the revenue allocated to clean-up the waste that collects in the bayous. The bill would need support from the flood control district, the county commissioners, and the Port of Houston Authority. The Port currently operates a “skimmer” boat to clean the bayous, but is unable to keep up with the large amount of trash.

The next meeting of the GBCC will be in January, Boullion said.