S.B. 455 78(R)    BILL ANALYSIS

S.B. 455
By: Armbrister
Environmental Regulation
Committee Report (Amended)


The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has consolidated all
innovative regulatory programs into one office, changing the requirements
for innovative regulatory programs and the use of regulatory flexibility,
and establishing a new ranking system based on compliance history pursuant
to the recommendations of the Sunset Advisory Committee.  S.B. 455 allows
the use of these innovative programs upon showing of an equal
environmental benefit with economic savings to the regulated entity. This
bill also eliminates the requirement for a single uniform standard for all
entities regulated by TCEQ and authorizes TCEQ to adopt standards that are
uniform for sites that are similar in size and complexity and at which
similar activities occur.  Finally, this bill provides guidance for TCEQ
concerning placing information on the internet. 


It is the committee's opinion that this bill modifies rulemaking authority
to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in SECTION 1(a)(Section
5.753 , Water Code) of this bill. 


  Amends Sec. 5.753(a), (b), and (e), Water Code, as follows:
 (a) Makes the development of compliance history "standards" permissive
and would provide that the standards be uniform for sites that are similar
in size and complexity and at which similar activities occur.  
 (b) Provides that inclusion of elements in compliance history is up to
TCEQ and only require federal information to the extent it is readily
available.  Moves reference to "consent decrees" from Subdivision (1) to
Subdivision (3). 
 (e) Clarifies that when the commission sets the time period for
compliance history, it is for "sitespecific" compliance history. 
 (f) Provides that nothing within the section shall prevent the
commissioners from considering any relevant compliance information in

 Amends Sec. 5.754, Water Code, as follows: 
 (a) Allows instead of requires the TCEQ to develop classification
standards for specific sites. 
 (b) Reflects that the mid-range classification is "satisfactory" instead
of "average" and specifies that these classifications apply to
site-specific compliance history. 
 (c) Requires the TCEQ to consider the size, complexity, and type of
activity when classifying a site's compliance history and to give
consideration to size when determining a repeat violator, limiting
consideration to violations of a similar nature at a particular site. 
 (d) Clarifies that methods for determining compliance history ranking
when inadequate compliance information is available is by site. 
 (g) Clarifies that additional oversight applies to the sites in the
lowest classification. 
 (h) Clarifies that prohibitions in this section only apply to sites in
the lowest classification. 
 (i) Requires TCEQ to consider other relevant compliance information, as
well as the compliance history, in permitting actions. 

 Amends Section 5.756, Water Code, by amending Subsection (b) and adding
Subsection (e), as follows: 
 (b) Requires TCEQ to collect certain data and make it available to the
public, including the internet. Makes conforming changes. 
 (e) Provides that any material about a site that is placed on the
Internet under this subchapter is subject to a quality assurance and
quality control procedure, including an opportunity for the entity that
holds the permit for the site to review the information before it is
placed on the Internet. 

 Amends Sections 5.758(a), (b), (d), and (h), Water Code, as follows:
 (a) Authorizes TCEQ by order to exempt an applicant from a requirement of
a statute or commission rule regarding the control or abatement of
pollution if the applicant proposes to control or abate pollution by an
alternative method or by applying an alternative standard that is as,
rather than more, protective of the environment and the public health as
the method or standard prescribed by the statute or TCEQ rule that would
otherwise apply. 
 (b) Prohibits TCEQ from exempting an applicant under this section unless
the applicant can demonstrate to TCEQ that the applicant's proposed
project will result in protection of environmental quality that is equal
to or greater than the protection afforded by existing standards. 
 (d) Deletes existing modifier "specific" related to a description of the
alternative method or standard. 
 (h) Requires TCEQ, in implementing the program of regulatory flexibility
authorized by this section, to endorse alternative methods that will
clearly benefit the environment and impose the least onerous restrictions
on business, including economic benefit.  Deletes existing text related to
marketing the program and fixing and enforcing environmental standards. 

 Repeals Sec. 5.753(d), Water Code, to eliminate requirement that
compliance history include notices of violations. 
 Repeals Sec. 5.757, Water Code, to eliminate the requirement that TCEQ
provide a single point of contact to coordinate innovative programs,
allowing TCEQ flexibility in the administration of these programs. 

 Provides an effective date of September 1, 2003.


 September 1, 2003


 Amendment 1authorizes the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
(TCEQ) to offer high performers a small benefit for their excellent
compliance history.  It allows TCEQ to give high performers preference in
processing permit applications, permit amendments, and permit renewals.
The amendment grants that these high performers be given a priority in
having their permit reviewed. The Texas Commission on Environmental
Quality would continue to receive a full and complete review. This
authority is permissive, not mandatory, and would be implemented by TCEQ