Governor Abbott Vetoes House Bill 2647
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Pursuant to Article IV, Section 74, of the Texas Constitution, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto House Bill No. 2647 as passed by the Eighty-Fourth Texas Legislature, Regular Session, because of the following objections:
Texas landowners have a constitutionally protected right to access the groundwater under their property. Government action affecting that vested right must be based only on very careful deliberation, which ideally should take place at the local level based on local needs and concerns. Statewide groundwater rules are less able to take vitally important local interests into account.
Under current law, local groundwater conservation districts have the ability to implement specific management strategies, such as curtailment, that prioritize certain users as deemed appropriate after local deliberation. House Bill 2647 eliminates local discretion by mandating the preferential treatment of certain types of groundwater use over other important uses. If one class of landowners is automatically exempt from curtailment, others will have to bear an unequal burden when water is scarce. Enshrining in state law the rule that groundwater conservation districts will give priority to one class of water users could result in the abridgement of other users' groundwater rights. Groundwater management should be based on sound science and public input at the local level, not on one size-fits-all state mandates like House Bill 264l .
Since the Eighty-Fourth Texas Legislature, Regular Session, by its adjournment has prevented the return of this bill, I am filing these objections in the office of the Secretary of State and giving notice thereof by this public proclamation according to the aforementioned constitutional provision.
View a PDF of the veto here