Marked Agenda
Commissioners' Work Session (Closed Meeting)
Friday, April 23, 1999
8:30 a.m.
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin

NEW BUSINESS

The closed meeting scheduled for 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. was not convened.

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Marked Agenda

Commissioners' Work Session
Friday, April 23, 1999
9:30 a.m.
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin

NEW BUSINESS

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. Consideration of issues relating to evaluation of requests for authorization to begin construction of wastewater treatment facilities prior to issuance of final TPDES permit. Sally Gutierrez (Water/QLT), Robert Robinson (Water/Permits), Marianne Baker (OLS/Legal), and Clyde Bohmfalk (OEPAA/Policy Implementation Section) presented this issue. Staff presented the Commissioners with a numerical history of requests for authorization to construct (ATC) and described some possible explanations for the four fold increase seen in 1998. To address the overall concern of permit applicants with regard to the uncertainty of the time needed to process a completed application for a wastewater permit and receive a final permit, staff outlined three authorization options for the Commissioners to consider. After much discussion on the criteria to be used by staff to consider in making a recommendation for approval or disapproval of a request for ATC, the Commissioners directed staff to improve the exhibit application by including some general conditions to be considered by the applicant. In this regard, unless there are extenuating circumstances, an ATC would not be recommended for approval by staff if less than 6 months had expired since it was determined to be administratively correct, but could still be filed and considered by the Commission. In addition, once the TPDES permit load stabilizes, staff was directed to be more discriminating before recommending approval based upon the time the permit application had been in the review process.
  2. Consideration of activities associated with State Implementation Plans (SIP). Herb Williams (OEPAA/Policy Implementation Division) and Patricia Wilkinson (OGC) presented this item. Mr. Williams updated the Commissioners with regard to a recent D.C. Court of Appeals order derived from a lawsuit filed by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) against the Environmental Protection Agency. Part of the requirements at the heart of the matter is that any new highway projects in any of the non-attainment areas must demonstrate conformity with the SIP. The suit filed by the EDF raised some concerns particularly with regard to the establishment of budgets in the SIP. A letter sent by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to Senator Gramm expressed concerns about how the court order limited both agenciesí flexibility with regard to these issues. Ms. Wilkinson presented the Commissioners with a letter which would be sent to Senator Gramm, which emphasized the TNRCC concerns. The Commissioners voted to sign the letter and further directed that staff furnish the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) and the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) with a copy of the letter with the intention of fostering their comments to the Congress. In addition, the Chairman directed that a separate letter be sent to ECOS and STAPPA describing what initiatives we have taken with TxDOT, the Federal Highway Director for the state of Texas, and TNRCC staff to develop a joint solution as a proposal to the problem of transportation conformity.
  3. Consideration of the agency's legislative proposals and other related issues to be addressed during the 76th Texas legislative session. 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. Steve Minick (Director/IGR) presented this item. Most of the information presented is contained in the Management Report describing the previous weeks legislative activities. No action was taken on this item.
  4. Planning for the next Commissioners' Work Session. Due to scheduling conflicts the June 18 session will need to be rescheduled. A new tentative schedule will be published with the new date. The next work session is May 21.