Marked Agenda
Commissioners' Work Session
Thursday, May 21, 1998
1:30 p.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 was taken.

  2. Consideration of legal and policy issues related to the municipal solid waste program, including permitting, land use, and regional solid waste plans. Linda Haynie (Waste Planning and Assessment Division); Latrice Hertzler (Municipal Solid Waste Division); and Marianne Baker and Diane Parker (Legal) presented this item.

    The commission concurred with staff’s recommendations concerning land use only hearings with minor modifications. The commission directed staff to give the option to applicants to submit Parts I and II (or the whole application), and on receipt of their submissions, the staff will notify the local government and allow 30 days for the local government to let us know if they want to ask for a separate land use only hearing. The commission also directed staff to include, as a condition for when a land use only hearing would be given consideration, an applicant request for this hearing.

    Concerning regulatory guidance for land use criteria, the commission directed staff to look at the current Parts I and II of the application and develop any specific information for incorporation into the MSW permit application, that in general would be helpful to give a better view of the land use compatibility question. Prior to implementing changes to the application, staff was asked to brief the commissioners individually for their comments.

    The commission also opened discussions on solid waste plan issues. Regarding conformance issues, the commission approved allowing the executive director to notify an applicant that the agency has received a letter of non-conformance from a council of governments and ask the applicant how it wants to proceed. No further action was taken.

  3. Consideration of the recommendations contained in the Final Proposed Management, Organization, and Business Process Report by TechLaw, Inc. TechLaw, Inc was under contract to conduct a Business Process Review Study of the agency’s permitting, planning, and compliance processes. Bill Campbell (Deputy Executive Director) and John Steib presented this item. The commission provided the following guidance.

    Permitting Process
    The commission concurred with staff’s recommendation that an agency team be formed to examine standardizing the various permit processes. The commission concurred with staff’s recommendation that further study is necessary to define the extent to which the agency institutes a multi-media permitting approach. It also declined to form a new permitting office at this time. Instead, the agency team should focus on standardization, continue to develop the process of one stop permitting and it should also identify any organizational impediments. The team’s progress will be assessed by August 31, 1998. The commission further directed the team to continue examining pre-permit planning, completeness reviews, permit renewal issues, and public participation/early notice and make recommendations by August 31. The commission concurred with staff’s recommendation for reducing notices of deficiency (NODs) and directed staff to also determine the point at which an application can be rejected based on the number of NODs that have been issued during the process. The commission concurred with all other staff recommendations.

    The commission accepted staff’s recommendations on compliance, with some modifications and additional instructions, as noted. The commission directed staff to ensure that compliance planning end results are linked to the overall planning function of the agency. The commission accepted staff’s recommendations concerning the functionalization of compliance assistance activities. However, it extended the deadline for completion of the further analysis recommended by staff from July 1, 1998, to September 1, 1998. Regarding the interaction between headquarters and the regional offices, the commission accepted staff’s overall recommendation but directed staff to examine coordination of the compliance dates for new rules, rather than their effective dates.

    The commission accepted staff’s recommendation to form a Deputy-level Office that integrates environmental and strategic planning with policy and risk assessment functions. Staff was directed to develop a plan by July 1, 1998 to achieve the integration and consolidation of resources to form the office by September 1, 1998. The commission concurred with the remaining recommendations concerning monitoring, assessment, and planning.

  4. Consideration of issues related to the agency’s Strategic Plan, Legislative Appropriations Request, operating budget, and performance partnership grants. Bill Campbell (Deputy Executive Director) presented this item. No action taken.

  5. 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 (Intergovernmental Relations) presented this item. No action was taken.

    Planning for the next Commissioners’ Work Session. The next Commissioners’ Work Session is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 1998, in E-201S, at 1:30 p.m. It will include the following issues: enforcement report, petition for rulemaking on emissions fees, CARE update, drought issues, Legislative Appropriations Request, operating budget, and the Strategic Plan, and legislative updates. The following issue was added to the tracking chart for a future work session: Penalty and Enforcement Policy.