Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is taking a leadership role in ensuring that the federal environmental conservation efforts do not jeopardize the Texas economy.
The 82nd session of the Texas Legislature increased the Comptroller’s authority to monitor endangered species in the state and provide the federal government with accurate data that, hopefully, will temper the policies set in Washington, D.C.
“Currently, more than 90 species and their Texas habitats are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, and more than 50 additional species will be reviewed in the next few years for placement on the Endangered Species List or for critical habitat designation. The Texas data used by the federal government must be crystal clear. We will provide rebutting data when needed.  We have a full commitment to support landowners and property rights,” Combs said.
During the recently-concluded special session of the Texas Legislature, Rep. Warren Chisum sponsored an amendment to Senate Bill 1, authorizing Combs to take an expanded role in negotiating endangered species conservation plans that are agreeable to the federal government and to Texas landowners and business owners.
“Protecting Texas jobs and the environment are very important, and Susan has a proven track record of results in these areas, which is why I offered the amendment,” Chisum said.
As Texas grows, communities across the state are encountering more projects that may affect endangered species. A number of pending issues could place limitations or additional cost on public and private land use.
“Endangered species conservation plans should be reasonable and based on solid scientific information,” Combs said. “We have shown time and time again that endangered species can be protected without stifling economic growth or placing excessive restrictions on private land use.  Local stakeholders are often in the best position to create plans that work.”
Combs has many years of experience with Texas land issues. As a member of the Texas Legislature, she authored the private property rights law that remains in effect today.  More recently, Combs worked with landowners, environmental groups and the federal government to develop a Recovery Credit System that allows Fort Hood, in Killeen, to continue operating as one of the world’s largest military bases, even though it is a habitat for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.