Protestors Speak Out About Possible Reservoir - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/12/06 Jacksonville

Protestors Speak Out About Possible Reservoir

Congressman Jeb Hensarling made a stop in Jacksonville on Wednesday to talk about border security, but protestors showed up wanting to talk about something else: why he stopped a wildlife refuge from being built in East Texas.

  Members of the Friends of the Neches River held up signs outside the Norman Activity Center today. The grass roots organization wants to establish a National Wildlife Refuge in Cherokee and Anderson Counties, but the city of Dallas wants to use the 30,000 acres between Palestine and Rusk to build the Fastrill Reservoir, which will provide water for Dallas. Hensarling says elected officials in the two counties asked him to stop the wildlife refuge until a study is completed.

"I'd like the decision to be made locally, but I know once you have the land acquired for the wildlife refuge, it's simply an irreversible position," said Congressman Jeb Hensarling.

"Fastrill Reservoir would destroy the bottom lands on the Neches River," said Michael Banks, Chairman of Friends of the Neches River. "It would flood the Texas State Railroad, which is very valuable to us in East Texas because it brings $6 million a year in tourist economy to Cherokee and Anderson Counties."

  Hensarling says the Fastrill Reservoir study should be complete in two weeks.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

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