Legislation from the 81st Session
During the 81st Legislative Regular Session, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) tracked 957 bills with the potential to affect the agency or its operations. Of those, the Legislature adopted approximately 235 bills, of which 164 are utility and/or district creation bills, that impact the agency and will require either rule making, revisions to guidance documents, operational or procedural changes, or some type of administrative action within the agency.
The 81st Legislative Session Wrap-up report summarizes legislation of interest to the agency that passed during the regular session, impacting agency programs, employees, and stakeholders.
The Legislative Implementation table from the 81st Regular Session provides TCEQ contact and schedule information on legislation that will impact the agency.
The Legislature addressed several of TCEQs programs and priorities. Below are examples of some key legislation that passed this session:
- HB 1433 - Increases the statutory cap for the annual water quality fee for wastewater discharge permit holders and water right users through permit or contract from $75,000 to $100,000 beginning September 1, 2009. The cap can be increased in subsequent years based on the CPI, up to a maximum of $150,000.
- HB 1796 - Establishes the New Technology Implementation Grant (NTIG) program, and requires the TCEQ to establish and administer a new technology implementation grant program to implement new technologies to reduce emissions from facilities and other stationary sources located within the state.
- HB 3544 - Authorizes the TCEQ to utilize electronic means of transmission for information issued or sent by the agency.
- SB 361 - Requires a retail public utility, exempt utility, or provider of wholesale sewer service or potable water service that furnishes water or sewer service to more than one customer to ensure the operation of its water and sewer systems during an extended power outage. Each service provider is required to submit an emergency preparedness plan to the TCEQ for review and approval.
- SB 876 - Requires the TCEQ to perform annual soil sampling at CAFOs in a major sole source impairment zone (parts of the North Bosque Watershed).
- SB 1757 - Directs the TCEQ to perform a study and make recommendations on: the methods currently used in the state to safely handle and dispose of pharmaceuticals, medical sharps, and other potentially dangerous medical waste; alternative methods including methods used in other states; and effects on public health and the environment of the various methods.
- SB 1959 - Establishes a Texas Clean Fleet Program (CFP) to be administered by TCEQ, funding it with five percent of the 87.5 percent of the Emission Reduction Incentives Grant funds within TERP.
The Commission will be initiating the necessary actions to implement all legislation described here that requires rule making or other changes to agency operations. Any questions concerning legislation affecting the TCEQ can be directed to the Intergovernmental Relations Division at (512) 239-3500.