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For Immediate Release

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September 12, 2011

New Website Tracks Impact of Regulatory Burden on Texas

(AUSTIN) — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has created a new website to help educate Texans about the economic impacts of proposed federal actions related to endangered species, air and water. The website, called Keeping Texas First, is located at http://www.keepingtexasfirst.org.

“As the state’s chief financial officer, it is my duty to monitor and report on the Texas economy and the state’s financial outlook, which depend on a vibrant economic climate,” Combs said. “This new website, which will be updated regularly, reports on pending and future federal actions that carry a real risk of hurting the Texas economy and the livelihood of individual Texans.”

The website provides information about more than 100 plant and animal species found in Texas that have received or are slated for federal review within the next five years – action that in some cases could have significant economic impacts on Texas landowners, businesses and communities. An interactive map allows users to see which counties contain endangered or potentially endangered species.

The website also alerts Texans about other pending environmental actions, including the expansion of federal authority under the Clean Water Act and new rules on hazardous air pollutants, cooling water intake and cross-state air pollution. The site provides details of the potential economic impacts and hefty price tags that could result from federal regulatory actions.

Combs said the environmental data used in the federal decision-making process is frequently outdated or not adequate.

“When making decisions about Texas, the data must be crystal clear, geographically relevant and based on solid science,” Combs said. “I am fully committed to protecting landowners, property rights and the Texas economy.

The Comptroller will continually monitor the status of endangered species and update the website to serve as an informational resource for affected businesses and landowners. The site will include federal regulatory timelines, so affected Texans can gather data and undertake timely efforts to provide input on federal actions.

The 82nd Legislature gave Combs expanded authority to take a leading role in negotiating voluntary endangered species conservation plans that provide a safety net to Texas businesses and landowners. The Comptroller also serves as the presiding officer of the legislatively created Interagency Task Force on Economic Growth and Endangered Species.

“Land is a part of our Texas heritage and Texans fully understand the necessity to protect our environmental assets,” Combs said. “But environmental protection does not have to stifle economic growth or place excessive restrictions on land use.”

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