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TCEQ Enforcement Process Review, 2004 - 2007

The TCEQ conducted a formal review and improvement of it's enforcement process from 2004 through 2007.

Focus of the Review

On Dec. 5, 2003, the TCEQ's executive director announced that the agency would undertake a comprehensive review of its enforcement functions to ensure that the agency is enforcing environmental laws fairly, effectively, and swiftly. She appointed a steering committee of agency staff to oversee the review and make recommendations.

The review focused on:

  • How the agency's use of criteria to decide whether to pursue enforcement action could be improved;
  • Enforcement consistency across regions and programs;
  • How the agency's implementation of the new compliance history requirements is working, and how the agency's use of compliance history information could be improved;
  • Maximizing compliance in enforcement policies; and
  • Maximizing benefit to the environment in the agency's enforcement policies.

The committee established priorities and goals for the agency's enforcement program and identify issues with current enforcement practices. Three broad categories were identified for review:

  1. compliance history
  2. the enforcement process
  3. penalties and corrective action

Additional topics were identified through agency staff and public input. The committee categorized the issues and provided discussion for commission consideration on priority and significance of the issues identified.

Staff met regularly with the executive director and commissioners at commission work sessions to discuss progress of the review, issues raised at public meetings, and other enforcement-related topics of interest to the commissioners.

Public Participation

The agency encouraged participation by the public and other parties interested in this review to help ensure that a full and fair discussion of the issues occurs. Obtaining a variety of perspectives improved the quality of the recommendations provided to the executive director and the commission.

We collected public comments through public meetings in Arlington, Midland, Harlingen and Houston; sought comments through existing advisory committees and by letter; and collected comments at commission work sessions and through a questionnaire. The agency collected comments on the recommendations contained in the Enforcement Process Review Report.