Texas Water
1:08 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

State water board fills vacancy with Exxon Mobil PR executive

The three-person governing body of the Texas Water Development Board is now fully staffed. Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Kathleen Thea Jackson of Beaumont to the Texas Water Development Board.

Jackson, a registered professional engineer, was most recently public affairs manager for Exxon Mobil Corp.

The board had been down to two members since January, when Weatherford natural gas entrepreneur Mary Ann Williamson resigned. The board chairman is Carlos Rubinstein. Bech Bruun also serves on the board.

Rubinstein, Bruun and Williams were appointed by Perry in 2013, after the Texas Legislature reorganized the governing body's structure. The Texas Water Development Board had been administered by six volunteer board members. In anticipation of the agency receiving $2 billion from the state's Economic Stabilization Fund to finance water projects, the legislature replaced the volunteer board with three paid, full-time staff.

Rubenstein's term will expire Feb. 1, 2017. Bruun's term will expire Feb. 1, 2015. Williamson's term had been set to expire Feb. 1, 2019, but Jackson's will expire Feb. 1, 2015.

Jackson serves on the board of the Texas Water Conservation Association. Jackson is also member of the Sabine and Neches Rivers Bay and Estuary Environmental Flows Assessment Program Stakeholders Committee and the Lower Neches Basin Water Quality Assessment Program Steering Committee. Jackson is a former member of the Lower Neches Valley Authority Board of Directors.

The Texas Water Development Board is expected to rule on a conflict between regional planning groups over the issue of the proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir. The reservoir would flood over 70,000 acres along the Sulphur River valley, mostly in Red River County.

The Texas Water Development Board's Region C planning group, which serves North Texas, included the Marvin Nichols Reservoir in its regional plan. The Region D planning group, which serves Northeast Texas, opposes the project. Planners in the Dallas area want the reservoir to serve the region's increasing municipal water needs, while planners in Northeast Texas cite economic and environmental objections to the project.

The Texas Water Development Board has given no timetable for a ruling on the Marvin Nichols Reservoir issue.