May 27, 2008

Local Commission Demands TTC 35 Re-do

Liberty Matters
Copyright 2008

Four rural cities and their school districts formally demanded the Texas Department of Transportation stop all plans on the Trans-Texas Corridor 35 until a supplemental study is conducted as required under federal law. Fred Kelly Grant, the attorney and associate to the Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (ECTSRPC), wrote the 26-page request.

The ECTSRPC is the first sub-regional commission formed under the Texas Local Government Code 391, to force coordination with state agencies planning the TTC. “This is the first substantive legal attack on the TTC, and therefore on the NAFTA Superhighway and the North American Trade Agreement,” stated Grant.

If TxDOT complies with the request, it could delay the project for years and the resulting study will reveal the adverse impacts on the human and natural environment, which the agency has ignored.

If they don’t comply with the request, a federal lawsuit will certainly ensue blocking the project in court for years. With four sub-regional planning commissions now in place in Texas, TxDOT must begin coordinating with those local groups before any action can be taken on the TTC-35 and 69.

Stewards of the Range, American Land Foundation, and Texans United for Reform and Freedom have held two regional workshops teaching the mechanics of forming 391 commissions.

One attendee made the comment after learning about coordination: “You’re not just working to stop the TTC, you’re taking our nation back from the ground up.”

To learn more about coordination, go to

LINK: Commissions Request to TxDOT for the Supplemental Environmental Study, 5-20-08

© 2008 Liberty Matters

May 23, 2008

Governor Reportedly Pondering Special Session To Curtail Power Of Sub-Regional Planning Commissions

by Vince Leibowitz
Capitol Annex
Copyright 2008

There are rumblings in the Capitol that Texas Governor Rick Perry is looking at the possibility of calling a Special Session of the Texas Legislature to curtail the power of Regional Planning Commissions.

Why? Because Sub-Regional Planning Commissions have become the latest weapon in the arsenal of opponents of the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Perry is reportedly considering calling a special session on transportation issues with altering Chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code being the session’s number one priority.

Chapter 391, the codification of the Regional Planning Act of 1965 codified by the 59th Texas Legislature, has a proviso that has become particularly nettlesome to proponents of the Trans-Texas Corridor, Chapter 391.009(c):

In carrying out their planning and program development responsibilities, state agencies shall, to the greatest extent feasible, coordinate planning with commissions to ensure effective and orderly implementation of state programs at the regional level.

Because these commissions are considered political subdivisions of the state, they are on equal footing with state agencies like TxDOT.

One Sub-Regional Planning Commission in particular, the Eastern Central Texas Regional Sub-Regional Planning Commission, has become a particularly nettlesome thorn in the side of TxDOT. They have demanded, in a 28-page missive, that TxDOT conduct another Environmental Impact Study specific to their region. TxDOT, of course, is required under the National Environmental Policy Act, to conduct an EIS, and the current Draft Environmental Impact Study for TTC-35 is, according to the ECTRSRP, “deficient in issue analysis.”

Whether Perry will call the special session or not remains to be seen, but Austin sources tell Capitol Annex that the issue has been discussed between TxDOT and the governor’s office.

The funny part, however, is that the existing sub-regional planning commissions would be grandfathered, but legislative action could severely clip their wings and possibly stop new SRPCs from either forming or acting so boldly.

© 2008 The Capitol Annex

May 22, 2008

Commission formally requests TxDOT prepare a Supplemental Environmental Study for TTC-35

May 22, 2008

North Texas E-news
Copyright 2008

Holland, Texas –The Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (ECTSRPC) has unanimously approved the first formal demand that development of the Trans-Texas Corridor -35 be stopped and corridor be restudied. On May 13, the ECTSRPC approved a 26-page formal demand that the Texas Department of Transportation conduct a supplemental environmental study.

The ECSTSRPC was formed under Chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code, which requires TXDOT and other state agencies "coordinate" their planning and projects with local planning commissions.

In releasing the demand, Mayor Mae Smith of Holland, president of the ECTSRPC, said; "Until we organized this Commission, TxDOT had not discussed with us the damage a 1,200-foot wide superhighway would have on our towns and school districts. During the meetings following our formation, TxDOT admitted they had not studied the local impacts resulting from geographically dividing our emergency services and school districts, disrupting school bus routes and adding utility costs to our citizens."

The formal demand sets forth issues critical to local citizens of the towns of Holland, Bartlett, Little River-Academy, and Rogers and their respective school districts. ECTSRPC member Ralph Snyder pointed out that the current study ignored the economic impact of destroying the highly productive farm ground known as the Blackland Prairie through which the corridor runs. He said, "The current corridor will ruin the rural economy of our area. TxDOT says it plans to study that impact later when they decide on a specific highway route, but that’s too late. No matter where the specific pavement is laid, the Prairie will be destroyed, so they need to study this impact now."

ECTSRPC Treasurer, Mayor Ronnie White of Little-River Academy, explained that the Commission believes "TxDOT should follow their own study and expand the existing Interstate 35 rather than pursue a superhighway that will take 146 acres of land for every mile of highway."

The formal demand points out how the corridor will force school districts to use scarce education funds for re-routing bus lines and dividing award-winning school districts, and how the limited-access superhighway will require at least a doubling of all emergency services – fire, police and medical – in order to serve both sides of the superhighway. ECTSRPC Secretary Arthur White, Mayor of Bartlett, said that the increased local costs " will result in loss of residents, loss of businesses and economic crisis that we may not survive."

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires TxDOT to engage in a thorough "hard look" analysis of the environmental and economic impacts of a proposed highway project like the TTC. The ECTSRPC’s demand alleges that TxDOT has failed to comply with the federal law and federal implementing regulations.

The ECTSRPC has been supported in its Chapter 391 coordination process by Stewards of the Range and American Land Foundation, both having offices in Texas. They are private property protection organizations involved in a national campaign to help local governments exercise their authority.

Stewards President, Fred Kelly Grant, complimented the ESTSRPC on its strong stand on the law, stating, "We believe the Commission makes a reasonable demand that TxDOT start now to prepare a supplemental draft environmental study that includes the economic and environmental harms which the proposed corridor will cause in rural Texas. It is possibly the only way to avoid major lawsuits that could hold up this project for years."

A copy of the Commission’s Formal Request can be found at:

© Copyright 2008 by North Texas e-News, llc

May 20, 2008

Have Texans Found a Silver Bullet to Kill the TTC?

Sal Costello /'The Muckraker'
Texas Toll Party
Copyright 2008

Have Texans found the silver bullet to kill Gov. Rick Perry's Trans Texas Corridor land grab?

It looks like it. Citizen groups are now using the laws created by the special interests (which were created to form regional pro TTC groups) to form regional anti-TTC commissions to force TxDOT to answer endless TTC questions, that could last months, years and even decades if needed.

And, with the law on their side this time, they believe it's working.

Three Texas Citizen groups, American Land Foundation, Stewards of the Range and Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom have joined forces and are gearing up for a second "How to Fight the TTC Workshop", which will take place in El Campo, TX.

Since the first succesful workshop last month, which was held in Lufkin, the group has formed three new "391 Commissions", which could slow down and stop the TTC in different regions of Texas. The 391 commission is named after chapter 391 of the Texas Local Government Code.

The El Campo, TX Workshop is scheduled for this Thursday, May 15th, 9am-3pm at the El Campo Civic Center (map). Registration deadline is Thursday at 8:00 am

The workshop will teach Texas citizens and community leaders how to form a 391 Sub-Regional Planning Commission and all the needed details to help stop the TTC in their region.

The first 391 Commission established to fight the TTC-35 Corridor, The Eastern Central Texas Sub-Regional Planning Commission (ECTSRPC), the Mayor of Holland (the president of the ECTSRPC) and attorneys are scheduled to share crucial information to help other Texans stop the TTC eminent domain abuse.

Citizens opposed to the TTC, County Commissioners, County Judges, Mayors and City Councilpersons are urged to attend.

© 2008 The Muckraker

May 14, 2008

County to explore possible creation of 391 Commission

The Navasota Examner
Copyright 2008

After listening to presentations by three lawyers familiar with the creation of a Sub-Regional Planning Commission (SRPC), then having questions answered during a 391 workshop last Thursday, Grimes County Commissioners decided to place the item on their May 26 agenda as a discussion item.

The workshop at the Navasota center drew a large crowd of area property owners, along with officials from Madison, Waller and Walker counties. Anderson, Bedias and Navasota city officials were also in attendance.

Those attending the meeting heard Fred Grant, President of Stewards of the Range and an attorney with over 30 years experience as a planning and zoning officer in Idaho, explain how local government and citizens banded together through a SRPC to protect private land and grazing rights.

Dan Bayfield an attorney and President of the American Land Foundation in Taylor followed Grant. Bayfield presented a comprehensive step-by-step outline on forming a SRPC.

Trey Duhon, a Waller attorney instrumental in the formation of the Waller County SRPC shared his views regarding a commission in Grimes County.

Focal point of the meeting was how local citizens and governments can protect private property from “high-handed” governmental take overs such as the action proposed by TXDOT’s I69/TTC plans.

Those involved with the possible formation of a 391 commission said they could do nothing without governmental action. “It will take the county plus one or more city to get the commission formed.”

Once formed, the commission would have governmental and non-governmental members.

County Judge Betty Shiflett said Monday that commissioners want to study the information and have an open discussion before committing to any action regarding the formation of a 391 SRPC.

© 2008 The Navasota