FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/25/2014
STRAUS APPOINTS MEMBERS TO STUDY COASTAL BARRIER SYSTEM
AUSTIN ---Texas House Speaker Joe Straus named 11 legislators Friday to the Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System.
The committee was created by the Legislature in 2013. Its purpose is to study the effect of recent changes made to the Texas Open Beaches Act.
The Open Beaches Act grants the public a free and unrestricted right to access state---owned beaches and a right to use any public beach extending from the line of mean low tide to the line of vegetation bordering the Gulf of Mexico. In Severance v. Patterson, the Texas Supreme Court found that erosion that suddenly changed the location of a dry beach did not move the established public easement from its original location.
House Bill 3459, which was signed into law last year, created a process allowing the Land Commissioner to suspend the designation of a new line of vegetation for three years. The committee will also examine the feasibility and desirability of maintaining a coastal barrier system in Texas and of authorizing coastal property owners to grant easements to governmental entities to build and maintain stabilized dunes.
Rep. Joe Deshotel of Beaumont will co--chair the committee. Its membership will also include Reps. Armando Walle of Houston, James Frank of Wichita Falls, Abel Herrero of Robstown, Chris Paddie of Marshall, David Simpson of Longview, Craig Goldman of Fort Worth, Tan Parker of Flower Mound and Drew Springer of Muenster. Because all of those Members sit on the House Committee on Land and Resource Management, statute requires that they also sit on the coastal barriers interim committee. Straus also appointed Reps. Greg Bonnen of Friendswood and Geanie Morrison of Victoria to the interim committee.
“I want to thank these Members for taking on this issue and exploring how to best protect the public’s access to state---owned beaches,” Straus said. “Their work in the coming months will provide critical guidance when the full House returns in January.”
JASON EMBRY OR ERIN DALY