DEPARTMENT OF EARTH SCIENCE WEISS SCHOOL OF NATURAL SCIENCES

The Honorable Buddy Garcia, Commissioner Texas Commission on Environmental Quality MC-100, P.O. Box 13087 Austin, Texas 78711-3087 Dear Buddy

August 30, 2011

I am writing to bring your attention to an issue that has arisen concerning publication of the “State of the Bay” volume, specifically as it relates to a chapter that I wrote for the volume. It seems that TCEQ has refused publication of my chapter unless I remove a section of the chapter that deals with sea-level rise and its impact on the bay. The focus of this chapter is to educate the reader, and in particular the non-science community, about the manner in which the bay has evolved in response to sea-level rise and variations in sediment supply caused by natural climate variability. In the chapter I point out that the current rate of global sea-level rise is nearly 3.0 mm/yr, compared to the long-term average rate of 0.5 mm/yr and that this accelerating rate places considerable stress on the bay and its ecosystems. The point is that the bay is already experiencing significant stress and we must be ever more aggressive in protecting it and other coastal systems. The sea level rates presented in this chapter are scientific fact, not speculation. The more recent trends are well established by tide gauge records and satellite measurements and published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, including Science and Nature. Our long-term rates are also published in the peer-reviewed literature, including a Geological Society of America Special Publication that focuses on Gulf of Mexico Bays and their response to sea-level rise and climate change. For the TCEQ to block publication of this information in a chapter that is intended to educate the nonscience community, seems to be at odds with their role as a public agency. Preventing me from publishing this chapter in its current form is a clear case of censorship, which we academicians take very seriously. I would hope that you will intervene at this point and assure that publication of the “State of the Bay” is no longer delayed . Thank you for your attention John B. Anderson Maurice Ewing Professor of Oceanography

RICE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF EARTH SCIENCE-MS 126 P.O. BOX 1892 HOUSTON, TEXAS 77251-1892 6100 MAIN STREET HOUSTON, TEXAS 77005-1892 PHONE: 713-348-4880 FAX: 713-348-5214 E-MAIL: GEOL@RICE.EDU