Commissioners' Work Session (Closed Meeting)
Friday, August 13, 1999
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin
This is a closed meeting.
- Docket No. 1998-1154-EXE. The Commission will meet in closed session to deliberate the
appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of the
Commission's Executive Director, as permitted by Section 551.074 of the Texas Open
Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. The Commission may also meet in
open session to take action on this matter as required by Section 551.102 of the Texas
Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code. No action taken on this item.
- Docket No. 1999-0024-EXE. The commission will conduct a closed meeting to receive legal
advice and will discuss pending or contemplated litigation, settlement offers, and/or the
appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of
specific commission employees, as permitted by Sections 551.071 and 551.074, the Open
Meetings Act, codified as Chapter 551 of the Government code. No final action, decision
or vote with regard to any legal or personnel matter considered in the closed meeting shall
be made in the absence of further notice issued in accordance with Chapter 551 of the
Government Code. No action taken on this item.
- Docket No. 1999-0025-EXE. The commission will conduct a closed session to discuss their
duties, roles, and responsibilities as commissioners of the TNRCC pursuant to section
551.074 of the open meetings act, codified as chapter 551 of the government code. The
Commission may also meet in open session to take action on this matter as required by
Section 551.102 of the Texas Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551 of the Government Code.
No action taken on this item.
Commissioners' Work Session
Friday, August 13, 1999
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin
This meeting is a work session for discussion between commissioners and staff. Issues 4,5, and 7 were open for public testimony or comment.
- Discussion of 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 on this issue.
- Consideration of issues related to the agency's FY2000 Preliminary Operating Budget. Linda Flores, OAS/BUD and Machelle Pharr, OAS/CHFO presented this item. Staff presented
the Commissioners with the recommended FY2000 operating. The total adjusted appropriations
for fiscal year 2000 are $410.7 million, including $27.1 million from the General Revenue Fund,
$50.4 million from the federal funds and $333.2 million from fees and other revenue assessed
and/or collected by the agency. The Commissioners approved the budget.
- Consideration of a status report on approvals by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency of Commission certified water quality management plan updates. Tom Weber,
Office of Permitting, presented this item. Currently, TPDES requires that "no permit may be
issued for any discharge inconsistent with a plan or plan amendment approved under section
208(b) of the Clean Water Act". Therefore, water quality management plans (WQMP) are a key
component to addressing the TPDES permitting backlog. To date several efforts are in place to
reduce this backlog. The greatest progress to date has been to gain EPA agreement on what
permits need no WQMP update and these permits have been culled from the updates. Of the
1016 (post culling) plans needing review, 873 are in progress, 140 are approved and verbal
approval has been given on 3. EPA indicated it expected to complete the review and issue
approval letters at a minimum rate of 50 permits per two-week period. The actual rate is closer
to 40 to 50 per week. EPA wants to complete their review by October 1999. Chairman Huston
viewed the process as a success story and is encouraged by what he sees. No action was taken.
- Consideration of a status report on the progress to reduce the Texas Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System permit backlog. Robert Robinson and Harry Pruett, Office of Permitting,
presented this item. TNRCC is committed to eliminate the backlog of unprocessed National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit applications by December 31, 1999
which stem from the authorization to administer the NPDES given the agency on September 14,
1998. This effort is being completed in concert with the normal workload associated with the
TPDES program and uses staff from throughout the agency. In addition, use of an existing
contact between EPA and its contractor SAIC is being used. The status of the permitting effort
appears to be on task to be completed by December 31, 1999. As of August 5, the permitting
effort is as follows:
- 1346 permits are drafted, technically correct, and have been QA/QCed
- 1119 permits are filled with the Chief Clerk's Office
- 643 notices have been mailed and published
- 565 notices complete and 30 day comment period has ended (241 are on hold for WQMP)
- 259 permits issued
TNRCC has recently raised concerns with both EPA and SAIC regarding the progress of the
outsourcing project but anticipates the concerns can be resolved in order to meet the December
31, 1999 goal. No action was taken.
- Consideration of issues related to the agency's development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL). Mel Vargas (OEPAA/TMDL), Chuck Mueller (OEPAA/SAS), Julia Rathgeber (OEPAA/SEAA) presented this item. The state of Texas is required by the federal Clean Water Act to develop TMDLs for water bodies in the state which do not meet or which are not expected to meet their water quality standards and are listed on the state’s 303(d) or impaired watershed list. Two complicating factors have come to the attention of TNRCC staff which require guidance from the Commissioners. Staff inquired, given the existing federal regulation under 40CFR 122.4(i), which prohibits the issuance of new or expanded permits for municipal and industrial wastewater discharges in an impaired watershed prior to TMDL development, should the Commission modify its procedures for issuing new or expanded Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) permits in a 303(d) listed watershed. Presenting 4 options, the staff recommended action to require new and expanded permit requests for CAFOs in an impaired watershed to get individual permits as an interim approach using best professional judgement to establish special operating, monitoring, and enforcement conditions. The Commissioners’ adopted this recommendation. The second factor stems from staff efforts necessary to get stakeholders more involved in the TMDL process. Stakeholders need to be reminded that the Commission will establish and implement TMDLs and they can influence how that is done. Two ongoing TMDL projects illustrate issues associated with stakeholder participation: the project in the Arroyo Colorado watershed has trouble getting appropriate parties to participate whereas in the North Bosque River watershed, certain parties who have been participating in the process are indicating they may withdraw due to perceived problems with the process. In response to staff’s question of should the Commission and Commission staff undertake a more comprehensive communication strategy to inform stakeholders about the implication of TMDLs, the general recommendation was yes, TNRCC staff should continue to strengthen the agency’s efforts at informing interested parties about the TMDL program. Chairman Huston directed staff to prepare a one page summary statement of the consequences of the TMDL program to be used by Commissioners during speaking opportunities in order to raise the overall awareness and understanding of stakeholders. In addition, he directed that staff collaborate with agency Communications to prepare TMDL informational materials tailored for distribution through publications and other media formats associated with specific trade associations and interest groups.
- Consideration of activities associated with State Implementation Plans and Regional Clean
Air Strategy. This issue was not discussed.
- Consideration of legislation passed affecting the TNRCC and other issues related to
actions taken by the 76th Texas Legislature. 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. No action was taken on this issue.
- Planning for the next Commissioners' Work Session. The next work session is scheduled
for Thursday, September 2. Issues scheduled for that session include consideration of rules
regarding the Texas Risk Reduction Program (Rule Log No. 96106-350-WS), consideration
rules regarding Public Participation (Rule Log No. 99030-039), and other regularly scheduled