Marked Agenda
Commissioners' Work Session (Open Meeting)
Friday, March 10, 2000
9:30 a.m.
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin

New Business

  1. Discussion of the Proposed New Format for the Monthly Enforcement Reports and Presentation of the Monthly Enforcement Reports for October, November, and December of 1999 and January of 2000. Anne Dobbs, Compliance and Enforcement, presented this issue. The new format depicting graphic trends in orders issued from FY1998 through FY 2000 disclosed increases in orders issued in PST, Public Drinking Water, and Water Quality areas. The basis for the larger numbers are believed to be the result of the fiscal year 1999 PST Initiative and changes to procedures for handling EPA significant violators in the drinking water and TPDES programs. The number of orders issued in the other program areas depicted predictably similar total numbers from year to year. The Report also included data, for the first time, on the Environmental Audit Program. No action on this issue.

  2. Discussion of Enforcement Penalty Policy and other agency enforcement issues. Paul Sarahan, Litigation Division, Ann McGinley and Lemarcus Johnson, Compliance and Enforcement, and Tamra-Shae Oatman, Small Business and Local Government Assistance, presented this issue. Ann briefly described some of the Commissioners' comments made during Agendas while considering issuance of specific administrative enforcement orders. Ann presented a draft of proposed changes to the Penalty Policy which stem from the Commissioners' comments. Staff asked the following questions concerning the penalty policy and problems the Commissioners see and/or changes they would like made.

  3. Consideration of activities associated with State Implementation Plans and update on the 8-hour ozone designation. No action taken on this issue.

  4. Consideration of legislative implementation 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 taken on this issue.

Issue number 6 was taken out of sequence.

  1. Update and discussion of issues regarding agency's response to the drought. This issue was presented by Herman Settlemeyer, Charles Maddox, and Nancy Baier, Water Permits. Staff provided the Commissioners with an update on recent water association meetings, systems in various stages of conservation, identification of at risk systems, a comparison of drought situations to previous years, current reservoir levels and an update on curtailment of junior water rights, and an update on suspension of temporary water rights. Nancy described various documents provided to the Commissioners such as our outreach plan, Drought Reference Manual, and the website plans. Charles described the "at risk" systems, mentioning 74 systems are currently on the drought watch list compared with nine at this time in 1996. Efforts to combine inspections of these at risk water systems with annual inspections by Field Operations is in progress. Herman talked about water storage comparisons and submission of drought contingency plans. Ninety-seven percent of the drought contingency plans have been received and 77% of the water conservation plans have been received. The Executive Director was particularly interested in the public water supply entities who have not responded to the agency's drought contingency plan submission requirement by the deadline. He asked staff to provide him with entities whose plans are not forthcoming real soon.

  1. Planning for the next Commissioners' Work Session. The work session previously scheduled for March 24th is canceled. The next work session will be on April 7, when, in addition to the standing issues, the Emission Banking and Trading issue is tentatively identified for discussion. Work Sessions for the summer will probably be convened on a monthly basis. A revised Tentative Dates schedule will be promulgated when the dates are known.