Marked Agenda
Commissioners’ Work Session
Thursday, August 21, 1997
1:30 p.m.
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin


  1. Consideration of the commissioners’ priorities on rule and policy development. The commissioners chose to discuss this item in conjunction with item #7.

  2. Consideration of issues related to a final penalty policy and other enforcement policies and procedures. Ann McGinley (Enforcement), Joe Vogel (Office of Compliance and Enforcement)l, John Riley (Litigation Support), and John Young (Field Operations) presented this item. The following modifications resulted from the discussion: Staff will examine annual hazardous waste generation reports to determine if a better demarcation between major and minor source definitions can be found. Proposed criteria for culpability adjustments will be clarified to ensure that historical information is limited to specific facilities rather than the entity and all of its related companies or governmental facilities and to include only information for the previous five years. Federal adjudicated orders will be treated the same as state findings orders. Compliance history should be based on a multi-media evaluation for the facility and then an entity-wide, but program-specific, evaluation to determine whether there is an entity-wide pattern. Staff should modify the penalty matrix for this section to reflect this concept for the first three times through the enforcement process. For the fourth and subsequent times through enforcement, the evaluation will look at the entity in all media. The commissioners approved the proposed penalty policy with these changes and directed staff to submit them to the General Counsel for final approval. Chairman McBee suggested future discussions relating to the use of publicity in enforcement actions and the practice of increasing permit limits to compensate for past releases that violate current limits.

  3. Consideration of issues related to the agency’s fiscal year 1998 operating budget. Tobi Hitt (Chief Financial Officer) presented this item. Commissioner Baker moved to accept the proposed FY 1998 operating budget. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Marquez and passed unanimously (Chairman McBee absent).

  4. Consideration of the agency's implementation of legislation enacted by the 75th Texas Legislature, including Legislative Concept Papers and the status of the agency's Legislative Implementation Strategy. The commission may also meet in closed meeting to receive legal advice regarding these matters as authorized by Section 551.071 of the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. Any commission action, decision, or vote on these matters will be made in open meeting in accordance with Section 551.102 of the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. Chairman McBee reported that he had sought a legal opinion from the Attorney General regarding the constitutionality of the provision of Senate Bill 1591 which allows flexibility from statutory requirements. Staff should continue to implement, as a high priority, the new statutory provision which allows flexibility from rule requirements.

  5. Consideration of the Environmental Protection Agency's promulgation of revised national ambient air quality standards and related issues. Beverly Hartsock provided a brief update on national activities. No action was taken, but this will be placed as a standing item on the next few Work Session agendas.

  6. Consideration for publication of proposed amendment to 30 TAC Chapter 331, Subchapter D, Section 331.63, concerning Underground Injection Control. The proposed amendment would require owners or operators of certain injection wells that have ceased operations for more then two years to notify the executive director 30 days prior to resuming operation of the well. Ray Austin (Waste Policy and Regulations Division) and Devane Clarke (Industrial and Hazardous Waste Division) presented this item. Commissioner Baker moved to accept staff's recommendation to proceed with rulemaking. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Marquez and passed unanimously (Chairman McBee absent).

  7. Planning for the next Commissioners’ Work Session. The next Commissioners’ Work Session is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, September 18, in E-201S, at 11:00 a.m. It will include the following issues: Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), monthly enforcement report, EPA’s promulgation of revised national ambient air quality standards, municipal solid waste policy issue, Texas risk reduction rules, legislative implementation report, and a joint meeting with the Texas Water Development Board.