By Mark B. Peterson-USA TODAY SportsThe Texas Legislature has just approved the first installment of a $7 billion bill that will pay for a wide variety of measures to combat the state’s algae and saltwater contamination crisis.
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The bill would authorize $3.3 billion for an algae program, $1.6 billion for water treatment, $724 million for the state water system, $300 million for research, and $3 billion to address saltwater pollution.
The bills will also allocate $250 million for public works projects.
The governor’s office issued a statement on Wednesday announcing the signing of the legislation, which was passed by the Senate on Thursday.
“The legislation passed the House of Representatives unanimously last week, and the governor signed the bill into the Governor’s desk,” the statement said.
The legislation was also signed by Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton and Democratic Attorney General Kenneth Paxton.
The Texas Tribune editorial board has also endorsed the bill.
“While many of the bills passed this session were in addition to the existing programs that were already in place, it’s a significant step forward in addressing the challenges facing Texas,” the editorial board wrote.
“With $743 million in spending approved this session, the bill includes new funding for water projects, wastewater treatment, and treatment of salinity in Texas.”
The Texas Water Development Board has also been given authority to expand the state-wide water quality program to address salinity and algae.
The board will also begin an effort to identify more salinity-friendly water sources.
The bills will go into effect immediately and be subject to the governor’s approval.
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