In Support of HB 907: Doubling Fines for Unregistered Sand Mining

After Hurricane Harvey, I saw mountains of sand everywhere I looked near the San Jacinto River. Since then, I have been studying the origins of the sand and am convinced that part of it comes from bootleg sand mining operations upstream that have destabilized river banks.

Forest Cove Townhomes destroyed by Harvey and swallowed by sand. In places, sand reaches into the treetops.

Bootleg Operators Destabilize River Banks

You don’t have to look long or hard to find examples of bootleg operators; they’re clearly visible in satellite images. As you examine an area in Google Earth and scroll back through time, look for operations that pop up suddenly and disappear just as fast. Concentrate on point bars and areas hidden in woods near rivers.

High Cost of Dredging

It’s costing taxpayers $70 million to restore the conveyance of the San Jacinto River; that’s the cost of the US Army Corps of Engineer’s dredging program. And that’s only for a PORTION of the area that needs dredging.

HB 907 DOUBLES the penalties (both daily and total) for failure to register an APO. It’s simple and straightforward. It targets bootleg operators who take a dump truck and a back hoe to the river and start scooping sand out of point bars. BTW, that’s stealing public property.

In the process, they kill trees and riparian vegetation that stabilize river banks. Results: erosion, excess sedimentation and scars that can last for decades. 

I’m not aware of any responsible parties opposing this legislation. And it doesn’t impose any hardships on honest people.

It does, however, put APOs on the radar of oversight agencies, so the agencies can better enforce environmental laws and regulations.

HB 907 Won’t Solve Sedimentation Problems but Will Help

PLEASE SUPPORT HB 907. It won’t solve all the sedimentation problems on the San Jacinto, but it will definitely help.

The House Environmental Regulation committee is hearing testimony on the bill today. Let’s hope this one makes it out of committee.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/17/2019

596 Days since Hurricane Harvey