H.B. No. 2694
SECTION 4.11. Section 7.067, Water Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 7.067. SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS
(a) The commission may compromise, modify, or remit, with or without conditions, an administrative penalty imposed under this subchapter. In determining the appropriate amount of a penalty for settlement of an administrative enforcement matter, the commission may consider a respondent’s willingness to contribute to supplemental environmental projects that are approved by the commission, giving preference to projects that benefit the community in which the alleged violation occurred. The commission may encourage the cleanup of contaminated property through the use of supplemental environmental projects. The commission may approve a supplemental environmental project with activities in territory of the United Mexican States if the project substantially benefits territory in this state in a manner described by Subsection (b).
Except as provided by Subsection (a-1), the commission may not approve a project that is necessary to bring a respondent into compliance with environmental laws, that is necessary to remediate environmental harm caused by the respondent’s alleged violation, or that the respondent has already agreed to perform under a preexisting agreement with a governmental agency.
(a-1) The commission may approve a supplemental environmental project that is necessary to bring a respondent into compliance with environmental laws or that is necessary to remediate environmental harm caused by the respondent’s alleged violation if the respondent is a local government.
(a-2) The commission shall develop a policy to prevent regulated entities from systematically avoiding compliance through the use of supplemental environmental projects under Subsection (a-1), including a requirement for an assessment of:
- the respondent’s financial ability to pay administrative penalties;
- the ability of the respondent to remediate the harm or come into compliance; and
- the need for corrective action.
(b) In this section:
- "Local government" means a school district, county, municipality, junior college district, river authority, water district or other special district, or other political subdivision created under the constitution or a statute of this state.
- "Supplemental environmental project" means a project that prevents pollution, reduces the amount of pollutants reaching the environment, enhances the quality of the environment, or contributes to public awareness of environmental matters.