By Cuellar of Webb H.B. No. 1515
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to the creation of the Environmental Equity Fund
1-3 consisting of penalties from the enforcement of pollution
1-4 prevention laws.
1-5 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-6 SECTION 1. Subtitle B, Title 5, Health and Safety Code is
1-7 amended by adding Chapter 374 to be entitled "Environmental Equity
1-8 Fund" to read as follows:
1-9 Section 374.001. POLICY. (a) The legislature finds and
1-10 declares that a number of individuals and communities around the
1-11 state have been adversely affected by violation of the state's
1-12 pollution prevention laws. These adverse impacts have resulted in
1-13 both direct and indirect threats to health and safety, as well as
1-14 the reduction of private property values. Although those who cause
1-15 or contribute to these pollution violations may ultimately be held
1-16 accountable in the form of civil and criminal penalties, these
1-17 moneys historically have been deposited in the state's general
1-18 revenue for uses unrelated to the pollution problem caused in the
1-19 particular community. Localities have been handicapped in their
1-20 ability to rectify the lingering problems caused by pollution
1-21 violations and in their ability to prevent the recurrence of such
1-22 problems. Accordingly, the legislature finds that it would be
1-23 desirable and just to reinvest in the communities of concern the
2-1 penalties from violations of pollution prevention laws. The
2-2 legislature further finds that a rational and consistent means for
2-3 accomplishing this reinvestment is by grant of these penalty moneys
2-4 under the administration of a board having a statewide perspective.
2-5 Section 374.002. ENVIRONMENTAL EQUITY FUND. (a) The
2-6 Environmental Equity Fund is a special account in the general
2-7 revenue fund.
2-8 (b) The purpose of the Environmental Equity Fund is to
2-9 benefit communities and groups that have been adversely affected by
2-10 violations of state pollution prevention laws.
2-11 (c) The Environmental Equity Fund shall be administered by
2-12 the environmental equity fund board.
2-13 (d) The environmental equity fund board shall be composed of
2-14 the following members:
2-15 (1) a representative of the attorney general;
2-16 (2) a representative from the Texas Natural Resource
2-17 Conservation Commission (TNRCC);
2-18 (3) an appointee of the speaker of the house;
2-19 (4) an appointee of the lieutenant governor; and
2-20 (5) an appointee of the governor.
2-21 (e) A person appointed by the speaker of the house, the
2-22 lieutenant governor, or the governor under Subdivisions (3), (4),
2-23 or (5) of Subsection (d) serves a two-year term ending on February
2-24 1 of each odd-numbered year. A vacancy in one of those positions
2-25 shall be filled by appointment of the officer who appointed the
3-1 person who vacated the board position, and the new appointee shall
3-2 serve for the unexpired term.
3-3 (f) The environmental equity fund board members shall
3-4 appoint a member of the board as a chairperson.
3-5 (g) The environmental equity fund board members shall meet
3-6 each calendar quarter and at the call of the presiding officer or a
3-7 majority of the members.
3-8 (h) The environmental equity fund board members shall not
3-9 receive compensation for services but may receive reimbursement for
3-10 actual and necessary expenses.
3-11 (i) Support staff for the environmental equity fund board
3-12 will be provided by the TNRCC and the attorney general.
3-13 Section 374.003. DEPOSITS TO FUND. The fund consists of:
3-14 (1) all administrative penalties recovered by the TNRCC pursuant to
3-15 the provisions of the Health and Safety Code and the Water Code,
3-16 unless such penalties are directed by law to be deposited in a
3-17 special fund or account other than the Environmental Equity Fund;
3-18 (2) all civil penalties, criminal penalties, and fines
3-19 recovered by the attorney general pursuant to the provisions of the
3-20 Health and Safety Code and the Water Code, unless:
3-21 (A) such penalties are directed by law to be
3-22 deposited in a special fund or account other than the Environmental
3-23 Equity Fund; or
3-24 (B) such penalties are allocated by law to a
3-25 governmental subdivision of the state other than the state;
4-1 (3) interest on money in the fund; and
4-2 (4) money from gifts, grants, or any other source
4-3 intended to be used for the purposes of this fund.
4-4 Section 374.004. FUND ADMINISTRATION. (a) The
4-5 environmental equity fund board is authorized to adopt rules
4-6 governing administration of the fund, including criteria for
4-7 evaluating applications for grants from the fund. The provisions
4-8 of Subchapters A and B, Chapter 2001, Government Code, except
4-9 Subsection (3) of Section 2001.004 and Section 2001.005, apply to
4-10 the environmental equity fund board.
4-11 (b) The environmental equity fund board shall review
4-12 applications from individuals, groups, and political subdivisions
4-13 for grants that will be used for projects to prevent pollution,
4-14 reduce the amount of pollutants reaching the environment, enhance
4-15 the quality of the environment, or increase public awareness of
4-16 environmental matters. In reviewing the applications, the
4-17 environmental equity fund board shall give preference to projects
4-18 that benefit a community in which the violations which gave rise to
4-19 a fine or penalty occurred. In addition, the environmental equity
4-20 fund board shall consider the demographic characteristics of an
4-21 affected community, including its racial, ethnic, and
4-22 socio-economic characteristics.
4-23 SECTION 2. Subsection (t), Section 361.251, Health and
4-24 Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
4-25 (t) A penalty collected under this section shall be
5-1 deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the Environmental
5-2 Equity Fund <
general revenue fund>.
5-3 SECTION 3. Subsection (q), Section 361.252, Chapter 361,
5-4 Health and Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
5-5 (q) A penalty collected under this section shall be
5-6 deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the Environmental
5-7 Equity Fund < general revenue fund>.
5-8 SECTION 4. Subsection (c), Section 361.223, Health and
5-9 Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
5-10 (c) A civil penalty recovered in a suit first brought by a
5-11 local government or governments under this chapter shall be equally
5-12 divided between the state and the local government or governments
5-13 that first brought the suit, and the state shall deposit its
5-14 recovery in the state treasury to the credit of the Environmental
5-15 Equity Fund < to the credit of the general revenue fund>.
5-16 SECTION 5. Section 26.126, Water Code, is amended to read as
5-18 (a) All civil penalties recovered in suits instituted by the
5-19 State of Texas under this chapter through the commission or the
5-20 Parks and Wildlife Department shall be deposited in the state
5-21 treasury to the credit of the Environmental Equity Fund < paid to
5-22 the General Revenue Fund of the State of Texas>.
5-23 (b) All civil penalties recovered in suits instituted by a
5-24 local government or governments under this chapter shall be equally
5-25 divided between the State of Texas and the local government or
6-1 governments first instituting the suit, with 50 percent of the
6-2 recovery to be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the
6-3 Environmental Equity Fund < paid to the General Revenue Fund of the
6-4 State of Texas> and the other 50 percent paid equally to the local
6-5 government or governments first instituting the suit.
6-6 SECTION 6. Subsection (m), Section 26.136, Chapter 26, Water
6-7 Code, is amended to read as follows:
6-8 (m) A penalty collected under this section shall be
6-9 deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the Environmental
6-10 Equity Fund < General Revenue Fund>.
6-11 SECTION 7. Subsection (m), Section 27.1015, Chapter 27,
6-12 Water Code, is amended to read as follows:
6-13 (m) A penalty collected under this section shall be
6-14 deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of the Environmental
6-15 Equity Fund < General Revenue Fund>.
6-16 SECTION 8. APPROPRIATION OF PENALTIES, FINES, AND
6-17 SETTLEMENTS. All moneys recovered by the attorney general or the
6-18 TNRCC pursuant to enforcement of the Health and Safety Code and
6-19 Chapter 26, Water Code, are credited to the Environmental Equity
6-20 Fund unless such penalties or fines are directed by law to be
6-21 deposited in a special fund or account other than the Environmental
6-22 Equity Fund or are allocated to a governmental division of the
6-23 state other than the state. Moneys hereby appropriated may be
6-24 expended only for purposes of carrying out the objectives of the
6-25 Environmental Equity Fund, and may not be appropriated for any
7-1 other purpose. Unexpended balances credited to the Environmental
7-2 Equity Fund at the end of each biennium are carried over to each
7-3 successive biennium.
7-4 SECTION 9. This Act takes effect September 1, 1995.
7-5 SECTION 10. SEVERABILITY. If any section, sentence, clause,
7-6 or part of this Act shall, for any reason, be held invalid, such
7-7 invalidity shall not affect the remaining portions of the Act, and
7-8 it is hereby declared to be the intention of this legislature to
7-9 have passed each section, sentence, clause, or part irrespective of
7-10 the fact that any other section, sentence, clause, or part may be
7-11 declared invalid.
7-12 SECTION 11. EMERGENCY. The importance of this legislation
7-13 and the crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
7-14 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
7-15 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
7-16 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.