Environmental Flows Rulemaking
Notice of Rule Stakeholder Meeting Concerning Environmental Flow Standards
House Bill (HB) 3 and Senate Bill (SB) 3, 80th Legislature, 2007, require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to adopt by rule appropriate environmental flow standards for each river basin and bay system in the state. The adoption schedule, as amended, requires environmental flow standards for the river and bay systems consisting of the Nueces River and Corpus Christi and Baffin Bays, the Rio Grande, the Rio Grande estuary, and the Lower Laguna Madre, and the Brazos River and its associated bay and estuary system to be adopted by September 1, 2013.
To comply with HB 3/SB 3, TCEQ staff is proposing the creation of new Subchapters F, G, and H in 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 298, Environmental Flows, for the Nueces River and Corpus Christi and Baffin Bays, the Rio Grande, the Rio Grande estuary, and the Lower Laguna Madre, and the Brazos River and its associated bay and estuary system.
TCEQ is holding a rule stakeholder meeting to obtain input from the public on the rulemaking required by HB3/SB3.
The rule stakeholder meeting will be held on Thursday, December 6, 2012, at 2:00 p.m., at TCEQ's Offices at 12100 Park Thirty-Five Circle, Building E, Room 201, Austin, Texas. If you are unable to attend the scheduled meeting, you may submit written comments by December 10, 2012. Address mailed comments to Kathy Alexander, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 13087, MC 160, Austin, Texas 78711-3087. Submit electronic comments to email@example.com. Please include the words "environmental flows" in the subject line of your e-mail.
The rule stakeholder meeting will be webcast at http://www.texasadmin.com/tceqs.shtml. You may access the broadcast beginning at 1:45 p.m.
Please note that this is an opportunity to provide informal comments to staff prior to the formal rulemaking process. Responses will not be prepared for comments received at this meeting. A formal public rule hearing and comment period is planned for the Spring of 2013.
Statutory Authority and Schedule
The commission by rule shall:
(1) adopt appropriate environmental flow standards for each river basin and bay system in this state that are adequate to support a sound ecological environment, to the maximum extent reasonable considering other public interests and other relevant factors;
(2) establish an amount of unappropriated water, if available, to be set aside to satisfy the environmental flow standards to the maximum extent reasonable when considering human water needs; and
(3) establish procedures for implementing an adjustment of the conditions included in a permit or an amended water right as provided by Sections 11.147(e-1) and (e-2).
Environmental flow standards adopted by the Commission must consist of a schedule of flow quantities, reflecting seasonal and yearly fluctuations that may vary geographically by specific location in a river basin and bay system.
The adoption schedule, as amended, requires environmental flow standards for the river and bay systems consisting of the Guadalupe, San Antonio, Mission, and Aransas Rivers and Mission, Copano, Aransas, and San Antonio Bays, and the Colorado and Lavaca Rivers and Matagorda and Lavaca Bays to be adopted by September 1, 2012. The rule process for the development of environmental flow standards for these two river basin and bay systems will begin on September 1, 2011, after receipt of environmental flow recommendation reports from the Basin and Bay Area Stakeholder Committees (BBASC) and Basin and Bay Expert Science Teams (BBEST).
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