Commissioners' Work Session
Monday, March 23, 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.
- Discussion of an agency report on enforcement actions for various media including
agriculture, air, industrial and hazardous waste, municipal solid waste, occupational certification, petroleum storage tanks, public water supply, water quality, and multi-media. Anne Dobbs (Enforcement Division) presented this item. No action was taken.
- Consideration of issues relating to the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS). Trace Finley (Executive Director’s Office) presented this item. The commissioners identified which sessions they would attend during the upcoming ECOS national meeting.
- Consideration of legal and policy issues related to the municipal solid waste program, including permitting, land use, and regional solid waste plans. Linda Haynie, John Forehand, Susan Janek (Office of Waste Management), Marianne Baker and Diane Parker (Office of Legal Services), and Susan Ferguson (Office of Policy and Regulatory Development) presented this item. At the work session the commissioners indicated:
- There should be a presumption that land use is compatible for an existing, operating municipal solid waste landfill. (“Greenfield” sites would not have the benefit of this presumption.)
- The current “notice of receipt” of an application should be revised to ask that concerns or comments relating to land use be forwarded to the Executive Director for his consideration.
- There should be early involvement of local governments. There was some discussion as to how to have applicants make better land use information available to the agency and local governments, short of providing the entire application. (Perhaps a 4-5 page application format.) Staff was directed to explore options of a “short-form” application, particularly where land use is at issue.
- Staff could send a letter and/or copies of the short (4-5page) form of the application addressing land use aspects of the application to local officals requesting their comment.
Staff should encourage a dialogue on land use issues between applicants & local officials in early correspondence with the applicant, including the agency’s approval of applicant’s Soil Boring Plan, generally issued 1 year before application.
- The agency should not change its staffing to involve land use planners in the review of MSW permits, but should ensure that “traditional land use” is more fully addressed in applications than done previously. (This does not necessarily mean that there is a need to dramatically change agency operations - there was some desire expressed for minimal, if any, changes in agency processes.)
- Staff should further develop review criteria under the five factors in §330.53(b)(8) to assist in the consideration of land use issues in a hearing context. (Staff may want to seek the input of professional land use planners in this task.)
- Consideration of the agency's implementation of legislation enacted by the 75th Texas Legislature including a legislative update on Senate Bill 932 repeal of Government Code Section 481.143 which froze certain agency rules upon filing of a permit application, and 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 the 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. The commission met in closed session to receive legal advise regarding issues relating to Senate Bill 932 and in open session directed staff to proceed as outlined in backup materials.
- Planning for the next Commissioners’ Work Session. The next Commissioners’ Work Session is tentatively scheduled for Thursday April 9, 1998, in E-201S, at 1:30 p.m. It will include the following issues: an update on the Strategic Planning “Town Hall” Meetings, consideration of comments on EPA’s proposed Environmental Justice Guidelines, consideration of the agency’s Pollution Prevention Integration Plan, and a Legislative Update. Staff was also instructed to bring back MSW land-use issues on May 6, 1998 and to be prepared to discuss the beneficial uses of biosolids in May or June.