from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
February 4, 2008
Contact: Jody Withers

Senator Craig Estes receives Interim Charges for Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs, and Coastal Resources

Austin - State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee for Agriculture, Rural Affairs, and Coastal Resources, said he is eager to begin work on his committee's interim charges in preparation for the 81st Legislature.

Interim charges are legislative studies given to each of the Senate Committees by Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst to be completed before the next Regular Session convenes in January 2009.

Among the more notable study ideas submitted by Estes and approved by the Lieutenant Governor included studying the economic impact of the Fuel Ethanol and Biodiesel Incentive Program, with specific emphasis on the impact to the price of food, and options for diversifying the feedstock used in producing biofuels.

"Our first goal here is to promote local economic development through the expansion of renewable energy while at the same time reducing our dependence on foreign oil critical for our national security," said Estes. "Texas can and will be a leader in the development and production of renewable fuels, and our local economies will benefit from our domestic production of energy."

The following is the full list of interim charges for the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs, and Coastal Resources:

Study the economic development impact, benefits and costs of the Fuel Ethanol and Biodiesel Incentive Program. Analyze and make recommendations regarding the following areas of interest:

Study the impact of funding increases and their effectiveness for the Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Program and provide options for possible future funding sources.

Study the economic impacts and unintended consequences of allowing whitetail deer raised on deer farms in Texas to be legally processed for venison. Study the interstate shipment issues with venison from other states currently faced by Texas restaurant suppliers.

Study the impact of the thoroughbred and quarter horse industries on agriculture in Texas, specifically the reasons for decline in those industries over the last several years.

Study the growth potential for rural economic development through the wine and grape industry as a result of expanded traditional agricultural operations and expanded agritourism.

Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Coastal Resources, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete the implementation. Specifically, monitor the implementation of HB 2819 relating to enforcement of the Open Beaches Act. Additionally, monitor the implementation of the federal 2007 Farm Bill and determine the impact on the Texas agricultural industry.