Brazoria County Commissioners recently seized power that isn't theirs and illegally closed public waters to sport fishing and swimming surrounding San Luis Pass public park. All waters in Texas are considering state property and are reserved by law for the use of the people. The county cannot legally close off access from a public beach into public state waters. Not only are they closing our waters off to those that have the right to use them, but they are also imposing criminal penalties for those that set one foot in the water!
The commissioners are using a legal sleight of hand to claim they have the authority to do this. They quote a section of the Texas water safety act as their legal right to close off the area to swimmers and sport fishing. The problem is the section of the code they are using to ban wade fishing and swimming is a section of the law designed to regulate boats! Their legal stretch is so flimsy that the County Game Warden has said they will not enforce their order. Unfortunately, the Brazoria County Sheriff's Department appears ready to write tickets for fines up to $500 or even arrest Texans for violating this illegal order.
Make no mistake, if we stand by and do nothing while county commissioners illegally drive out Texans from access to recreational waters, there is no way to prevent more overreach in the future. Imagine if a developer or residents of a new coastal community want to prevent boaters, hunters, or fishermen from coming around their neighborhood. All they have to do is pressure or buy off a county commissioner to close the area under the name of "safety."
Public state owned waters are ours to enjoy. Millions of Texans from all over the state travel to the Gulf Coast every year to enjoy our public waters. They are also ours to defend from those who would deny us our rights.