Commissioners' Work Session (Closed Meeting)
Friday, October 15, 1999
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin
This meeting is a closed session.
- 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
Commissioners' Work Session
Friday, October 15, 1999
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin
This meeting is a work session for discussion between commissioners and staff. Public testimony or comment will be accepted on item number 6.
- Consideration of issues related to the conduct of the Texas Year 2000 Air Quality Study
(TexAQS 2000) and TNRCC's participation. This issue was presented by Randy Wood, Deputy
Director, OEPAA, Jim Thomas, Division Director, Technical Analysis Division and Dr. David
Allen, University of Texas at Austin. Staff asked the Commissioners for personnel and financial
resources to support TNRCC's participation in the TexAQS 2000. In his presentation, Dr. Allen
reviewed the objectives of the study, saying this study is the first time that major national resources
such as Brookhaven National Laboratories, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration and numerous Texas universities have offered to help Texas answer technical
questions about our most difficult air pollution problems. The in-house cost for TNRCC to
participate would be $1.0 - 1.3 million of the total $10 - 15 million effort. Staff will have access
to scientific expertise and equipment it does not currently possess. The study can go a long way
in helping the state to ensure that the right pollution reduction strategies are being put into place,
which remains a major concern of the business community and the public. The actual study is
planned to be conducted mid to late summer 2000. The Commissioners approved staff's request
for personnel and financial commitment.
- Consideration of issues related to the status of Wastewater Authorizations to Construct and
an Evaluation of Assessing a Fee. Robert Robinson, Wastewater Permitting Section and Kathy
Brown, Office of Legal Service, presented this item. Staff gave an update on the status of
wastewater authorizations to construct (ATC), noting a continuing decrease in the numbers of
ATCs from 8 in January to 1 in September. It is believed the decline results from the
implementation of tasks from the April 23 Work Session as well as the efforts to process the
NPDES backlog. Regarding the authorization to charge a processing fee for ATCs, staff stated
that the Texas Water Code, Section 5.325, allows the TNRCC to charge such a fee. The
Commissioners directed that $250 fee be charged to applicants requesting an ATC.
- Consideration of agency policy relating to certification of Clean Water Act, Section 404
permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Margaret Hoffman, Office of Legal
Service/ Environmental Law Division and Tom Weber, Water Quality Planning and Assessment
Section presented this issue. Staff presented the Executive Director's proposal for handling 401
Certification Permits in view of rider number 27 of House Bill 1, 76th Legislature, which provides
that TNRCC will perform 410 Certifications only when required to maintain delegation of a federal
program or when required by federal law. Staff discussed 2 requirements that do implicate 401
a. Implementation of water quality standards, particularly the anti-degradation policy in
our water quality standards with regard to US and state waters which include wetlands that
are impacted by 404 permitted projects, and
b. Coastal Management Plans under the Coastal Zone Management Act.
Staff described an interim policy that is intended to avoid duplication of efforts with the Corps of
Engineers and which would be in effect until such time as a long term agreement or understanding
can be reached with the Corps. Briefly, for a project where there is fill of less than 5 acres of
water or a project that would affect less than 1500 lineal feet of a water course, the applicant would
receive a "no action" letter indicating the agency would not be undertaking any further review.
A certification review would be conducted for projects which are greater that 5 acres or 1500 feet
of a water course. The Commissioners directed staff to implement the interim policy and
procedures for 401 certification as outlined in the presentation.
- Consideration of the Commission's regional gasoline regulations including enforcement,
MTBE and other related issues. Randy Wood, Deputy Director, OEPAA, Chuck Mueller,
OEPAA, and Bill Jordan, OEPAA, presented this item. Staff discussed issues recently raised by
EPA, Region 6: EPA not taking any action on the state's low sulfur gasoline waiver, in view of
pending federal action on national sulfur standards; the likelihood that EPA would approve the
state's lower RVP waiver request with the condition that the state follow-up with a further analysis
in more detail of options beyond an RVP control on gasoline; and that the state address certain
enforcement issues. Staff asked, with regard to the enforcement issue, do the Commissioners want
to reopen the clean gasoline rules. Staff discussed the Executive Director's recommendation to the
Commission to pursue language that would prevent any increase in MBTE use. The
Commissioners' directed staff to return to the Commissioners with proposed rulemaking, or
adoption for publication, which would answer the enforcement questions raised by EPA and a
restriction on any increase MBTE as means to reach the lower RVP requirement.
- Consideration of issues related to the Sunset Advisory Commission's review of the TNRCC.
Terri Seales, Executive Cluster presented an update on this issue. No action taken.
- Docket No. 1999-0930-SIP. Consideration for adoption of revisions to the State Implementation Plan (SIP) concerning technical corrections to the 9% Rate-of-Progress (ROP) for the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) ozone nonattainment area. This SIP revision would quantify additional volatile organic compound (VOC) reductions not previously credited in order to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 9% ROP requirement and establish a transportation conformity budget. (Brian Foster) (Rule Log No. 99045-SIP-AI). The Commissioners approved staff's recommendation for adoption of the SIP.
- Consideration of activities associated with State Implementation Plans and update on court
decision concerning the 8-hour ozone designation. Chuck Mueller, OEPAA, Bill Jordan,
OEPAA, presented this item. No action taken.
- Consideration of legislative implementation affecting the TNRCC, other issues related to
actions taken by the 76th Texas Legislature, and interim charges proposed for the 77th
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. Randy Wood, Deputy Director, OEPAA
and Steve Minick, IGR, presented these issues. No action taken.
- Planning for the next Commissioners' Work Session. Commissioners' Work Sessions previously
scheduled for October 29 and November 11 have been canceled. The next work session will be on
November 19. Issues tentatively identified for discussion at that work session concern the Safe
Drinking Water Act implementation, reopening MSW landfills, and enforcement reports.