Marked Agenda
Commissioners' Work Session (Open meeting)
Friday, October 20, 2000
9:30 a.m.
Room 201S, Building E
12100 Park 35 Circle
  1. 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.

  2. 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:

  3. The Commissioners approved the implementation plan as presented by staff.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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:

  7. The recommendations follow:

    The Commissioners' accepted these recommendations.

  8. 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.

  9. Consideration of activities and comments associated with State Implementation Plans and update on the 8-hour ozone designation. This issue was not discussed.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.