Commissioners' Work Session
Thursday, March 5, 1998
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin
This meeting is a work session for discussion between commissioners and staff. No public testimony or comment will be accepted except by invitation of the commission.
- Consideration of a concept paper and direction to staff on a voluntary emissions reduction plan for the permitting of existing significant sources as required by House Bill 3019. Jeff Saitas, David Schanbacher, and Terri Seales (Office of Air Quality) presented this item. The following items were to be proposed for comment, and do not represent a final course of action for the commission. The commission has directed staff to make the concept paper and list of options available to the public on the agency’s web page.
- Permit Application Process - The commission directed staff to purse Option 1 which would allow for facilities to provide an abbreviated early permit application. Once a facility was brought into the process, it would be handled through normal existing procedures.
- Control Technology Requirements - The commission directed staff to develop Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) standards as requirements for grandfathered facility permits.
- Public Participation - The commission directed staff to examine a two-track process for evidentiary hearings where some permit applications would provide for hearings while others would not. Staff was also to seek creative means of providing notice at lower costs, especially for small businesses.
- Permit Renewal - The commission directed staff to pursue Option 1 which merges the renewal process for grandfathered facilities with the existing program for current permitted facilities.
- Application Fees - No fees are to be assessed for permitting of grandfathered facilities at the outset of the program. Staff was directed to evaluate available data to determine actual workload demands.
- Health Effects Review - The commission directed staff to pose alternatives for health effects consideration in the permitting of grandfathered facilities but to take no specific action. Commissioners Marquez and Baker directed staff to propose not requiring consideration of compliance history in an attempt to encourage all facilities, even those with bad compliance histories, into the permitting program. Chairman McBee dissented from this position.
- Amnesty Period - The commission directed staff to pursue Option 1 which would allow facilities a limited amnesty period with the exception of intentional violations.
- Multiple Plant Caps - The commission directed staff to prepare recommendations to the Legislature to allow grandfathered facilities to establish emissions caps over multiple plant sites to increase the flexibility in implementing cost effective reductions. Reductions in nonattainment areas will be weighted to encourage controls where they are most beneficial to air quality.
- Emission Reduction Credits - The commission directed staff to pursue Options 1 and 2 which would include a program of general and discrete emissions reduction credits.
- Weighting of Credits and Caps - The commission directed staff to pursue Options 1 and 2 which would weight emission reduction credits and caps according to the distance of the facility from schools or residences and the classification of the area. Implementation policy issues will be critical to ensure that no adverse impact occurs at any location or area.
- Limited Tax Abatement for Nonattainment Counties - The commission directed staff to prepare a recommendation to the Legislature that would provide counties and other applicable political subdivision with the authority to offer tax abatement incentives for controls at grandfathered facilities.
- Public Input into the Development Process - The commission directed staff to conduct 5 - 6 public meetings around the state between late March and the end of April to receive public input into these and other issues relating to the permitting of grandfathered facilities.
- Consideration of the Final Report of Findings by TechLaw, Inc. as required by contract to conduct a Business Process Review Study of the agency’s permitting, planning and compliance processes. John Steib (Office of Air Quality) and Molly O’Neill (TechLaw, Inc.) presented this item. No action was taken.
- Docket No. 98-0197-SIP. Consideration for the removal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) State Implementation Plan (SIP) approval process the Accelerated Vehicle Retirement (AVR, or Vehicle Scrappage) program (30 TAC Chapter §114.200), which was submitted to the EPA under a Governor's letter, dated October 31, 1994, but which to date have not been approved by EPA and incorporated into the SIP. Hazel Barbour (Mobile Source Division) and Bill Jordan (Air Policy Division) presented this item. Commissioner Marquez moved to approve the staff recommendation. Commissioner Baker seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.
- Docket No. 98-0198-RUL. Consideration for publication of and hearing upon the proposed repeal of 30 TAC Chapter §114.200, concerning Accelerated Vehicle Retirement (AVR, or Vehicle Scrappage). The proposed repeal will increase the flexibility of local areas to design and implement their own AVR program. Hazel Barbour (Mobile Source Division) and Bill Jordan (Air Policy Division) presented this item. Commissioner Marquez moved to approve publication of the proposed regulation revisions. Commissioner Baker seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously. The commission directed staff to have the preamble reflect the commission’s endorsement of scrappage and to encourage local development.
- Consideration of issues relating to the upcoming meeting of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS). No briefing or action was taken.
- Consideration of the agency's implementation of legislation enacted by the 75th Texas Legislature including the agency's efforts to work with the Interim Legislative Committees. The commission may also meet in closed meeting to receive legal advice regarding these matters, or any of the above 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. David Duncan and John Hofmann presented information for this item. No action was taken.
- Planning for the next Commissioners’ Work Session. The next Commissioners’ Work Session is tentatively scheduled for Monday, March 23, 1998, in E-201S, at 1:30 p.m. It will include the following issues: Municipal Solid Waste Policy Issues, Enforcement Report, and Legislative Update including Senate Bill 932 repeal of provisions established by Senate Bill 1704, 74th Texas Legislature which froze certain agency rules upon filing of a permit application. The commission also directed staff to add two items to the agenda for the April 9, 1998 meeting: A briefing on the Strategic Planning Public Meetings and consideration of potential comments on EPA’s proposed Environmental Justice Rules. Consideration of the rules regarding the Beneficial Uses of Biosolids (CAFOs/ Sludge) will be scheduled at a later date.