Commissioners' Work Session (Open meeting)
Friday, October 20, 2000
Room 201S, Building E
12100 Park 35 Circle
- Discussion of the Monthly Enforcement Reports for July and August, 2000. This issue was
presented by Anne Dobbs, OCE. Anne mentioned the number of administrative orders issued
for this reporting period set a new record high. In addition, there were almost twice the number of agreements reached for Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP). This is
believed to be linked to an increase in use of third party SEPs available from which to choose.
Chairman Huston asked the General Counsel to check with the State Office of Administrative
Hearings (SOAH) to examine ways to accelerate processing default orders referred to SOAH.
No action was taken on this issue.
- Consideration of Implementation Plans for Air Permit Requirements related to dockside
vessel emissions. John Steib and Karen Olson, Air Permits, and Susan Owen, ELD presented
this issue. Based upon analysis of applicable statutes and regulations, staff has determined that
dockside vessel emissions should be included in Federal Permit applicability determinations and
are subject to full state New Source Review (NSR) permit review. Staff presented the
Commission with an implementation plan that does the following:
• for Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Non-attainment (NA), undertake
rulemaking to make Chapter 116 consistent with Federal requirements to include
dockside vessel emissions in applicability determinations. Estimated completion July
• for Title V, issue Rule Interpretation to clarify Chapter 122 applicability to be
consistent with Federal requirements to include dockside vessel emissions in
applicability determinations. Estimated completion December 2000.
• for New Source Review (NSR), develop guidance for implementation of new Minor
NSR permit requirements. Draft complete by February 2001. Stakeholder meeting
and review of draft guidance complete by July 2001.
• implement requirement for full state NSR permit review of dockside vessel emissions
effective September 1, 2001.
The Commissioners approved the implementation plan as presented by staff.
- Consideration of issues related to regulation of surface facilities associated with non-commercial, non-hazardous Class I injection wells. This issue was presented by Alice
Rogers and Ben Knape, Waste Permits, Chris Gee, OLS, and Melissa Estes, OEPAA.
Generally, it has been the applicant's option whether to include pre-injection facility
information in their underground injection control (UIC) permit application. A consistent set of
standards is needed to provide guidance to permit applicants, commission staff, and the general
public on UIC application requirements for non-hazard facilities. At the
suggestion of the Executive Director, staff will return to the December 8 work session with a
more concise proposal and consideration of whether the commission should develop rules
requiring an applicant to get a wastewater permit or other authorization in addition to a UIC permit, or whether to
include pre-injection in the UIC permit. No action taken.
- Consideration of issues relating to potential NOx increases in the Houston/Galveston non-attainment area as a result of recent Air Quality permit amendment applications, and the
resultant potential effect on the pending Houston/Galveston State Implementation Plan.
Leigh Ing, John Steib, Dale Beebe-Farrow, and Matt Baker, of Office of Permitting,
Remediation, and Registration, and Terri Salem and David Duncan, OLS presented this issue.
The TNRCC is developing a State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the Houston/Galveston
nonattainment area and has proposed rules to implement controls on nitrogen oxides (NOx) and
volatile organic compounds to achieve compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality
Standard for Ozone. Since the proposal of the SIP, applications for projects have been
submitted to the agency which could impact the baseline inventory. As a result, the Executive
Director placed a hold on processing and reviewing for administrative completeness any
applications received after September 18, 2000. Staff presented a number of options to the
Commissioners' relative to lifting this hold. The Commissioners' directed staff to lift the hold
on processing applications submitted after September 18th. In addition, staff is to rapidly
develop an internal procedure for processing these applications based upon a criteria such as
viability, environmentally beneficial, first in - first out. Staff was also directed to expand the
'administrative review' criteria to include a project assessment to identify potential speculative permitting that could
be sought to inappropriately lock in emission credits for the Cap and Trade program. Should
conditions arise which signal an unexpected surge in permit activity such that the NOx levels in
Houston are again threatened, then the Executive Director is authorized to re-apply the hold
until such time as the Houston/Galveston SIP is approved on December 6, 2000. After this
date, air quality permits would be processed consistent with the approved SIP.
- Discussion of Legislative recommendations for the 77th Legislative Session. This issue was
presented by Glenn Shankle, Deputy Executive Director, Terri Seales, Executive Cluster, and
Steve Minick, IGR. Glenn described the methodology and criteria by which upper TNRCC
management identified the issues to present for legislative consideration prior to convening the
legislative session. An initial list of 35 issues was reduced to 12 using the following criteria:
•Will this proposal allow the agency and/or the state to operate more efficiently?
•Will this proposal help the agency to carry out its mission?
•Does this proposal have the possibility of raising significant controversy?
•Does this proposal attempt to reverse a policy recently set by the legislature?
•Does this proposal address an actual problem?
•Will this proposal have a neutral or positive fiscal impact on the agency?
The recommendations follow:
• Consolidate and simplify administration of the occupational licensing programs located in the
• Amend the definition, regarding hazardous waste, in Texas Health and Safety Code § 361.003(2)
to reflect the decision in Ex Parte Elliott, and provide a cross-reference in Texas Water Code §
7.001 (relating to enforcement).
• Expand the definition of alternatively fueled vehicles required to be used by fleets to include
electric/gasoline powered hybrids. (Include all new technology vehicles such as fuel cells.)
• Transfer ownership of the Faskin Ranch (Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority) to
an entity equipped to manage it properly.
• Amend Texas Health and Safety Code § 382.05194(d) to require applicants for multiple plant
permits to pay for public notice.
• Amend Texas Utilities Code § 39.264 to have the compliance period coincide with the Federal Acid Rain Program and the Texas Mass Emissions Cap and Trade Program compliance periods.
• Remove from the voluntary cleanup program tax abatement provision the requirement that a
property must have been devalued in the two previous appraisals.
• Clarify the relationship of electric generating facility permits to New Source Review permits under
Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 382.0518 and 382.0519.
• Extend the period during which hearings on permit applications for construction over closed
landfills may be held.
• Make the punishment for intentional or knowing unauthorized discharges more stringent than for
violations that do not require intent.
• Allow the Executive Director to reopen air permits for cause. (Inadvertently omitted from the
original list of 12.)
The Commissioners' accepted these recommendations.
- Update and discussion of issues regarding agency's response to the drought. This issue
was presented by Todd Chenoweth and Mike Lannen, Water Permits and Resource
Management. There was no action taken on this item.
- Consideration of activities and comments associated with State Implementation Plans
and update on the 8-hour ozone designation. This issue was not discussed.
- 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.
- Planning for the next Commissioners' Work Session. Issues identified for the
November 17th work session are consideration of additional TMDLs, Proposition 2,
Houston/Galveston SIP, as well as the standing issues.