Marked Agenda
Commissioners' Work Session (Open Meeting)
Friday, April 7, 2000
9:30 a.m.
Room 201S, Building E, Park 35, Austin

New Business

  1. Consideration of issues relating to the NOX trading rules including the existing Emissions Banking & Trading Program (EBTP) and the possible creation of a mass emission Cap & Trade Program. John Steib, Dale Beebe-Farrow, and Matt Baker, Air Permits Division presented this issue. Staff described various ways the Commission provides flexibility to the NOx emission limitations by allowing industry to meet those requirements by purchasing banked emission reduction credits. Offering recommendations which would provide more flexibility to the more stringent NOx emission limitations that will become effective in the nonattainment areas and East Texas Region, to improve and streamline the application process for use of credits, and to address EPA concerns over the existing EBTP, staff relayed proposals to the existing open market EBTP and asked several questions related to a Cap and Trade Program. The Commission was in general agreement with the proposals to the existing EBTP listed in Attachment A and commented that the baseline used for allocations should be the same as used for the SIP. The following guidance was given related to questions on the creation of a Cap and Trade Program:

  2. Discussion of issues to be voted upon at the Environmental Council of States Spring meeting and other related matters. Susi Ferguson, OEPAA and Elaine Adams, OLS-Environmental Law presented this issue. Staff provided the Commissioners with a final agenda for the ECOS Spring Meeting occurring April 10-12 and documents describing several breakout committee sessions. There was no action taken on this item.

  3. Update and discussion of issues regarding agency's response to the drought. This issue was presented by Charles Maddox, Todd Chenoweth, and Nancy Baier, Water Permits. Updating the "at risk" systems, Charles said the number increased by 5 to 79 systems at risk since the last report. Referring to a Palmer Index chart, Todd showed that the area under severe drought today is about double what it was in the same period in 1996. Nancy mentioned that approval and funding for 6 FTEs to staff the Critical Assistance Team is complete and staffing actions to fill those positions should begin next week. There was no action taken on this item.

  4. Consideration of activities and comments associated with State Implementation Plans and update on the 8-hour ozone designation. Herb Williams, Policy and Regulations and Chuck Mueller, SIP Section, presented this issue. Referring to recent correspondence from Commissioner Marquez to EPA, concerning ozone designation and other related materials, staff was directed to proceed on a number of tasks:

  5. 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. This issue was not discussed.

  6. Planning for the next Commissioners' Work Session. The next work session is scheduled for April 20. Issues identified for discussion are Enforcement Reports (OCE/ENF), Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) (OAS/CFO), in addition to the standing issues. Issues for future sessions include proposed joint meeting with Department of Public Safety on Inspection and Maintenance May or June, proposed 2001 Budget June 16, and LAR August 11. Subsequent to individual Commissioner briefings, discussion of dockside emissions issues may occur on May 19. A special work session may be scheduled early June for discussion of issues related to the 8-hour ozone designation.