Marked Agenda
Commissioners' Work Session
Thursday, April 23, 1998
9:00 a.m.
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.

  1. 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 taken.

  2. Consideration of submission of comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Interim Guidance for Investigating Title VI Administrative Complaints Challenging Permits, and related issues. Jody Henneke (Office of Public Assistance) and David Duncan (Legal) presented this item. The commission directed staff to prepare a letter for Chairman McBee to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency endorsing the position adopted by the Environmental Council of the States. Staff was also directed to perform a quick survey of other states to determine if other issues may have arisen that would require additional attention.

  3. Consideration of a petition for rulemaking, filed by the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce (TABCC), the Texas Chemical Council (TCC), and the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TxOGA), to adopt amendments to 30 TAC Chapter 101, Section 101.27(c)(1), concerning Emissions Fees. The petitioner proposes to amend the section to change the rate charged per ton of emissions from $26 to $20. If granted, the agency would initiate rulemaking proceedings in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. (Rule Log No. 98017-101-AI) Herb Williams (Air Policy and Regulations Division); Paul Henry (Air Quality Planning); and Mathew Johnson (Financial Administration) presented this item. The commission took testimony from Mary Miksa (Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce); Jon Fisher (Texas Chemical Council); and Cindy Morphew (Texas Oil and Gas Association) who submitted the petition to amend the rules to change the rate charged per ton of emissions from $26 to $20. Commissioner Marquez supported reducing the emissions fees in order to break cycle of accumulation of fund balance; however, he made a motion to deny the petition with instructions to staff to examine alternatives to consider at a work session in 60 days (scheduled for June 18, 1998). The commission directed staff to look at a range of fees and their impacts on fund balances in the future so that a decision regarding a reasonable rule revision could be made at that time. Chairman McBee seconded the motion which was approved unanimously. Chairman McBee also suggested that the agency contact appropriate legislative offices to discuss the implications for the appropriation process and protection of fund balances. The commission directed staff to expedite rule process as necessary to avoid unnecessary delays or extensions to billing cycle.

  4. Consideration of the agency's implementation of legislation enacted by the 75th Texas Legislature including House Bill 1, Section 167, Rules Review, 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. Brian Christian (Policy Research Division) and Snehal Patel (Legal) presented this item. The commission approved the rules review plan and directed staff to submit it to the Governor, Legislative Budget Board, and Texas Register. At Commissioner Baker’s suggestion, the commission directed staff to choose one rule package to use as an example for how rule teams can improve the readability of rules.

  5. Planning for the next Commissioners’ Work Session. The next Commissioners’ Work Session is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, May 6, 1998, in E-201S, at 2:00 p.m. It will include the following issues: adoption of Houston SIP, and legislative updates. The commissioners asked that the TechLaw Business Process Review Study findings be reviewed on May 21, 1998 and that the Legislative Appropriations Request and the Strategic Plan be placed as a standing item on the agenda from May 21 through July. The July 2, 1998 Work Session was canceled.