HBA-MSH, CBW H.B. 2684 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2684 By: Kuempel Land & Resource Management 7/18/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Texas Department of Transportation, in conjunction with other state agencies, has the primary responsibility of working with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to maintain the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW). The final cut on the GIWW through the state of Texas was made in the Laguna Madre in 1949. The Laguna Madre is a large body of shallow water separating Padre Island from the South Texas mainland. It covers 609 square miles of estuarine and coastal marine systems. The boundary of Padre Island National Seashore encompasses approximately 20,000 acres of the Laguna Madre. Dredging of the GIWW is necessary to remove sediment that fills the channel through natural causes. The Texas Transportation Commission (commission) is authorized to acquire land for the placement of dredge spoils by gift, purchase, or condemnation of property. House Bill 2684 prohibits the commission from acquiring property before September 1, 2005 for use as a disposal site for dredged material from the Laguna Madre if the property on October 1, 1997 was subject to a habitat conservation plan and requires an interim study on placement and use options for dredged material from the GIWW. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 2684 amends the Transportation Code to prohibit the Texas Transportation Commission from acquiring property before September 1, 2005 for use as a disposal site for dredged material from the Laguna Madre if the property on October 1, 1997 was subject to a habitat conservation plan. The bill requires the House Committee on Land and Resource Management to conduct an interim study on placement and use options for dredged material from the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and to report its findings and recommendations to the speaker of the house of representatives and the legislature no later than November 1, 2002. The bill provides that if Texas Department of Transportation is prohibited by a federal study from using open water disposal methods for Laguna Madre dredge spoils these provisions expire on a specified date. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.