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Ilan Levin [00:00:00] I remember the, the state agency, TNRCC at the time, you know, not wanting to move the application forward. They didn't want to process the application, do what they call the technical review.

Ilan Levin [00:00:20] And, and I remember the, the executive director of the agency at the time, a guy by the name of Jeff Saitas, who was called to testify in front of the House or Senate, you know, Environmental Committee, that was taking, that was considering, some legislation to essentially stop SMRF.

Ilan Levin [00:00:47] And that's really what the law, they had, they tried for a couple of legislative sessions to kill the SMRF application. And as I recall it, the opponents failed. They weren't able to pass legislation the first time around. They were able to pass legislation the second time around.

Ilan Levin [00:01:09] But I'm remembering Jeff Saitas testify in front of the legislative committee at the state capital.

Ilan Levin [00:01:18] And he, and he said, he said, "Under my rules, (under, you know, under his rules that he was bound to follow at his state agency)", he said, "Under my rules, I have to process this application.".

Ilan Levin [00:01:33] And that was a powerful statement and it really hit me. It really summed up what the, to me, the genius of this San Marcos River Foundation, you know, really, and this water right application was all about.

Ilan Levin [00:01:52] It was, you know, using the rules that the water developers, those that want to make money off of selling and moving water, using the rules that they had really mostly written and been using for many, many years, to take water out of streams and to build dams and reservoirs and so forth.

Ilan Levin [00:02:17] And, and, and SMRF used those rules for conservation purposes.

Ilan Levin [00:02:26] And so there was the director of the state environmental agency explaining to these state legislators that under the laws on the books at the time, he had to process the application. It was a legitimate application.

Ilan Levin [00:02:44] The definition of 'beneficial use' had at that point for many years in Texas, included instream flows and, and bay, and estuary flows, freshwater inflows into, into the sea. And because the law had recognized that that was valuable, SMRF simply filed an application the way anybody who would build a dam or a reservoir would file an application and just explained that they were requesting all this water for the beneficial use, of the valuable use, of its flowing into the sea.

Ilan Levin [00:03:31] And to hear the state agency head get up there and say, "I have to process this application." He was asking, he was he was putting it on, you know, right on, squarely on, on the Legislature to say, "You know, you got to change the law if you if you don't want these guys to get water for conservation."

Ilan Levin [00:03:58] And that's exactly what the Legislature then tried to do. And as I said, it was a couple of legislative sessions, and then at some point they, you know, they did pass some legislation.