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Select Interim Charges on Drought and Wildfire Preparedness
The Lieutenant Governor today released the following select interim charges:
The Natural Resources Committee is charged with the following:
Review water resources and conservation measures included in the State Water Plan to ensure that the appropriate entities are implementing the plans and that state and local authorities are enforcing requirements of the plans. In addition,the committee should evaluate methods to effectively enhance existing water resources and promote water conservation measures across the state at all times, not just in case of severe drought conditions.
The Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee is charged with the following:
Review the impact of the drought on the Texas agricultural and ranching industry and develop methods and legislative recommendations to minimize the effects and respond to the challenges for farmers and ranchers. The committee should focus on the following:
- implementation of best management practices for agricultural conservation;
- alternatives to federal assistance due to drought losses;
- long term economic impact of the drought on the agricultural sector of the Texas economy;
- better management of federal, state, and local parkland/preserve-land to reduce fire risk, including cooperative fire mitigation efforts with surrounding properties and neighborhoods; and
- analysis of Texas forest service and land management recommendations and options from other states for mitigating risk.
The Economic Development Committee is charged with the following:
Assess the economic impact of the long term drought on all sectors of the Texas economy. Include additional analysis of economic consequences of wildland fires. Develop a compendium of federal, state, and local funding and other assistance alternatives for reducing the long term economic consequences of the drought.
The Intergovernmental Relations Committee is charged with the following:
Analyze ways to better coordinate existing federal, state, and local housing resources to increase access to affordable housing following a disaster that caused the loss of homes. Review best practices for fulfilling emergency short term housing needs and developing long term housing opportunities using existing tools, such as land trusts, land banks, and other available incentives.
Review housing and development codes, and guidelines for structures in areas prone to natural disasters, an d make recommendations on how these structures can be ‘hardened’ to avoid loss. In addition, make recommendations to educate and enable private landowners to use best practices in fire risk mitigation, fuel reduction, and urban forest management to reduce exposure to wildland fires.