Petition update

SB 1964 Amended; Action Still Needed

Sarah Palacios-Wilhelm
Conroe, TX, United States

May 3, 2017 — On April 26, Sen. Creighton submitted a substitute bill for SB 1964 that seeks to protect 100% of the Jones State Forest and preserve its original intent:

(a) For the purpose of this section, the "Jones State Forest" means the real property owned by the state for the use and benefit of The Texas A&M University System to demonstrate reforestation work under the Texas A&M Forest Service, consisting of approximately 1,733 acres in Montgomery County, and formally dedicated and named the William Goodrich Jones State Forest.

(b) The entire territory of the Jones State Forest must remain natural, scenic, undeveloped, and open. No statute, rule, policy, or ordinance may be enforced with respect to the territory of the Jones State Forest, other than a statute, rule, policy, or ordinance that respects and preserves the natural resources, air quality, or water quality of the Jones State Forest.

In response to the community, Sen. Creighton has agreed to update the acreage of Jones State Forest to reflect the current acreage and define the term "open". He is also considering a recommendation to define the use and benefit as "for all Texans" and replacing the term "reforestation" with "conservation-minded science-based practices".

While the language of the bill is not finalized, at this time, Sen. Creighton is requesting community support for the amended SB 1964 be emailed to Chase Fruge at: . Sen. Creighton believes community support is crucial ahead of the committee's vote on this amended bill tomorrow and preventing A&M from developing the forest. We understand there are many differing views and encourage the community to provide feedback.

With the introduction of this amendment, Sen. Creighton has responded to the essential request of this petition, so today we will officially end this petition. We appreciate Sen. Creighton’s willingness to listen to his constituents and amend the bill. Thank you to all who supported this petition, as well as the many people who attended the community meeting, and advocated in support of protecting the forest. This process reflects the importance and power of the community working together.

Going forward, we will continue to work for the conservation and preservation of the Jones State Forest through community service and educational activities.

The Save Jones State Forest Steering Committee

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