Montgomery County Judge Doyal provides false testimony to Senate Committee re flood study, then issues press release bragging about it

Montgomery County Judge Doyal provides false testimony to Senate Committee re flood study, then issues press release bragging about it

Image: Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal provided false testimony to Texas Senate State Affairs Committee that the Montgomery County government has committed to fund the Phase 2 flood mitigation study on October 25, 2017.

Austin and Conroe, October 25 – In his effort to pander to the engineers and vendors who give him almost all of his political campaign contributions, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal testified before the State Affairs Committee of the Texas Senate on October 25, 2017, and gave them false testimony that the “Phase 2 [flood study] – which the county will pursue next year – would expand the study to the rest of Montgomery County’s watersheds.”

The reference to Phase 2 is actually a reference to terminology which the San Jacinto River Authority provided during its June 12, 2017, public discussion of the two-phase study. Doyal attended the SJRA presentation as an audience member along with his best friend and business partner, Bobby Jack Adams, the regional vice president of Halff Associates, Inc., which has spearheaded Doyal’s criminal legal defense fund and is one of the largest vendors for SJRA.

Doyal’s testimony was false because:

  • Neither the County Commissioners Court nor anyone else in the County government has authorized a Phase 2 study at the present time.
  • On June 12, 2017, the San Jacinto River Authority told Montgomery County citizens during a public presentation at its lavish headquarters Board Room that SJRA was leading the Phase 2 study.
  • During the June 12, 2017 presentation, SJRA made clear that the Phase 2 study would not include most of East Montgomery County but would focus almost entirely on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River.
  • There are not multiple “watersheds” within Montgomery County, especially for flood control purposes, because the entire watershed of the San Jacinto River is the area for which SJRA has the duty “to provide flood control.” The watershed of the San Jacinto River includes all of Montgomery County, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The following maps are important because they graphically show the false information Doyal provided to the State Senate Committee on October 25 where he obviously sought to protect SJRA and its large cohort of engineering vendors from criticism.

First, there’s the map showing the two Phase study SJRA intended to do. This map came from Halff Associates, Inc., and was part of the presentation SJRA provided to the public during the June 12 public meeting.

Map showing the flood protection study, phases I (in yellow) and II (in blue). The map shows that the Phase 1 study will focus entirely on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River down to its confluence with Lake Creek, while Phase 2 would focus on Lake Creek to the west of the West Fork, then the remaining section of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River only, and not the remainder of the San Jacinto River watershed. (Map courtesy of Sam Hinojosa, Halff Associates, Inc.)

Second, the following is the map showing the watershed (notice the singular rather than Doyal’s attempt to claim there are multiple “watersheds” in Montgomery County) of the San Jacinto River encompasses all of Montgomery County, plus more.

Watershed of the San Jacinto River. Source: United States Geological Survey.

Third, the following photograph shows the reality that SJRA has the legal duty “to provide flood control” to the entire watershed of the San Jacinto River, both East and West Forks, as one of its five statutory responsibilities.

Enabling legislation giving SJRA responsibility for flood control in the entire San Jacinto River Basin. Source: San Jacinto River Authority.

In reality, SJRA has five statutory duties but it only fulfills one of them:

  • (1) to protect the soil for erosion – SJRA DOES NOT DO.
  • (2) to provide flood control – SJRA DOES NOT DO.
  • (3) to aid and encourage reforestation – SJRA DOES NOT DO.
  • (4) to build a series of small dams along the San Jacinto tributaries and impound water which could be sold to municipalities, industries, and agriculture – SJRA FULFILLS SOME ASPECTS OF THIS DUTY BUT FACES A MIRE OF LITIGATION.
  • (5) to stock the streams and impounded waters with fish and adaptable forest areas with game for the preservation and conservation of wild life – SRJA DOES NOT DO.

Unbelievably, after Doyal finished providing the false testimony to the Senate State Affairs Committee, he issued a press release to brag about it. In the press release:

  • Doyal admitted his statements to the Committee were “testimony,” i.e., under oath;
  • Doyal admitted that he told the Committee the County “will pursue” the Phase 2 study, even though he had no authority whatsoever to make that statement and it would be completely for the taxpayers of Montgomery County to have to fund that study, when the SJRA has millions of dollars available for the study and the statutory duty to complete it;
  • Doyal attempted to deflect responsibility for flood control away from his cronies at SJRA by not even mentioning SJRA once in his press release discussion about flood mitigation studies. Doyal mentioned the County government, the Texas Water Board, and “local partners,” but not one iota about the precise agency in the Montgomery County community, SJRA, which has the duty “to provide flood control.”

Doyal clearly wants the taxpayers of Montgomery County to give him the money so that he can control which engineering firms will get the funds for the flood mitigation study. While SJRA may not have the confidence of the citizens of Montgomery County, SJRA has the money of the citizens of Montgomery County and should use those funds “to provide flood control.”

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