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GRCC Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Guidry News Forum
Concerned Citizens of Texas Gulf Coast
News Release
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

 There Are Lies; Damned Lies; And S.T.O.R.M. Lies

Oppose HB 3335

Austin, TX – After multiple Republican elected officials declined to carry legislation that would take away access to public certified oyster harvest areas - as well as many other activities enjoyed by recreational and commercial fishermen - Democrat State Representative Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont) took the bait and filed HB 3335.  If passed, this bill would take over twenty-three thousand acres of submerged land away from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department [TPWD] and allow it to be placed in the ownership of two individuals that operate a private, for-profit company known as Smithpoint Texas Oyster Resource Management, LLC [S.T.O.R.M.] as filed with the Texas Secretary of State on March 25, 2014. 

This bill is a backdoor attempt to validate an agreement between S.T.O.R.M. and the Chambers Liberty Counties Navigation District [CLCND] on April 14, 2014 - just 20 days after S.T.O.R.M. filed papers with the Texas Secretary of State - which would allow two individuals to control the bulk of the oyster reefs.  For the record, Representative Deshotel does not represent Chambers or Liberty Counties, nor does he represent Galveston Bay which is the area affected.

Lisa Halili with Prestige Oyster states, "This legislation is nothing more than an attempt to steal Galveston Bay from the people of Texas and place it in the hands to two people – one of whom helped appoint members to the CLCND." 

"It is morally and ethically wrong to take away natural living resources managed by the State of Texas and give it to a for-profit entity to create a monopoly across the state,” added Clifford Hillman of Hillman Shrimp & Oyster Company.

The TPWD and the Texas General Land Office [GLO] have each provided an opinion letter stating the CLCND does not have the legal authority to enter into an agreement with a for-profit business that would exclude the rights of current oyster leaseholders or prevent Texans from enjoying publicly owned reefs.

Currently, 1,700+ coastal Texans including commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, charter fishermen, oystermen, shrimpers and business leaders have signed a petition in opposition to HB 3335.  In addition, seven coastal county commissioners’ courts have passed resolutions preserving the authority of TPWD to manage our coastal resources.

HB 3335 would also negate the current and private leases of oystermen in the CLCND, many of whom have spent millions of dollars and created hundreds of jobs harvesting and building oyster beds for the benefit of all Americans.

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Remembering Jim Guidry

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