Guest blogger: Drew DeBerry, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture
You've most likely heard the cliché, "don’t believe everything you hear." Well, in the case of the Neches River, this overused notion holds true.
In a recent move to energize an old effort to designate the Neches River a National Wild and Scenic River, misinformation is being distributed to the public. The false selling point in this effort implies that a wild and scenic river designation would protect landowners from condemnation for the construction of reservoirs. Supporters of the designation also claim that the Texas Forestry Association and the Texas Farm Bureau are, or would be, involved in overseeing the designation and plans designed to maintain the Neches in its natural state.
The truth is the Texas Forestry Association and the Texas Farm Bureau are both opposed to designating the Neches River a National Wild and Scenic River. Both organizations recently published articles that highlight the true repercussions of such a classification, which essentially amounts to a federal threat to private property owners' rights. With this designation, the arms of federal agencies and other groups are extended to control lands that border upon, are adjacent to or are otherwise included in the river. As such, these entities would be free to prevent development on private land by deeming such actions as harmful to the river.
With private property ownership rights at stake, I encourage you to read more about the true implications of the National Wild and Scenic River designation by visiting the Texas Forestry Association and the Texas Farm Bureau.