Washington, D.C. — The House Judiciary Committee today approved by a vote of 16-11 the North Texas Water Supply Security Act (H.R. 4423), which is designed to secure prompt and efficient resolution of any and all litigation brought to challenge a permitting action for the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir Project in Fannin County, Texas, proposed for construction by the North Texas Municipal Water District.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representative Sam Johnson (R-Texas), lead sponsor of the North Texas Water Supply Security Act, praised today’s Committee vote in the statements below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “The Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir Project is critical to ensuring a reliable water supply for the rapidly growing North Texas area. By requiring any and all litigation be brought in a timely manner, the North Texas Water Supply Security Act will help ensure that this important project does not face any unnecessary roadblocks.

“I applaud Representative Sam Johnson for his hard work on this commonsense legislation, which is so vital to his constituents, and I look forward to a vote by the full House of Representatives soon.”

Representative Johnson: “After 15 years of hard work, this spring the North Texas Municipal Water District received a permit to begin construction on a reservoir that will provide critically needed water to North Texas.  Unfortunately, the delays in the federal permitting process have pushed the timeline for this reservoir so far out that even the slightest delay from a needless legal challenge could lead to a water shortage in my district. Even worse, a legal injunction against this reservoir would put Third District families and businesses in such dire straits that water from the tap would be in question. The North Texas Water Supply Security Act is necessary if we are to avoid a water crisis.  I thank Chairman Goodlatte for taking up this important bill, and I hope to see it signed swiftly into law.”

Key Components of the North Texas Water Supply Security Act:

  • Includes provisions to establish a 105-day statute of limitation for parties to seek judicial review of relevant environmental impact statement (EIS), environmental review, or permit authorizations by federal or state agencies.
  • Includes a requirement that review be sought by a party that submitted a comment during the public comment period on the revised draft environmental impact statement for the project.
  • Allows that, if a supplemental EIS is required, new final action following that EIS shall be a separate final action subject to review, but within a 60-day statute of limitations.
  • Limits venue to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas for all causes of action related to the project, and instructs that any such action be resolved expeditiously.