By: Fraser, et al. S.B. No. 709
  (Morrison, Bonnen of Brazoria, Deshotel, Harless,
  Smith, et al.)
  relating to procedures for certain environmental permit
         SECTION 1.  Section 2003.047, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (e-1), (e-2), (e-3), (e-4), (i-1), (i-2), and
  (i-3) to read as follows:
         (e-1)  This subsection applies only to a matter referred
  under Section 5.556, Water Code.  Each issue referred by the
  commission must have been raised by an affected person in a comment
  submitted by that affected person in response to a permit
  application in a timely manner.  The list of issues submitted under
  Subsection (e) must:
               (1)  be detailed and complete; and
               (2)  contain either:
                     (A)  only factual questions; or
                     (B)  mixed questions of fact and law.
         (e-2)  For a matter referred under Section 5.556 or 5.557,
  Water Code, the administrative law judge must complete the
  proceeding and provide a proposal for decision to the commission
  not later than the earlier of:
               (1)  the 180th day after the date of the preliminary
  hearing; or
               (2)  the date specified by the commission.
         (e-3)  The deadline specified by Subsection (e-2) may be
               (1)  by agreement of the parties with the approval of
  the administrative law judge; or
               (2)  by the administrative law judge if the judge
  determines that failure to extend the deadline would unduly deprive
  a party of due process or another constitutional right.
         (e-4)  For the purposes of Subsection (e-3)(2), a political
  subdivision has the same constitutional rights as an individual.
         (i-1)  In a contested case regarding a permit application
  referred under Section 5.556 or 5.557, Water Code, the filing with
  the office of the application, the draft permit prepared by the
  executive director of the commission, the preliminary decision
  issued by the executive director, and other sufficient supporting
  documentation in the administrative record of the permit
  application establishes a prima facie demonstration that:
               (1)  the draft permit meets all state and federal legal
  and technical requirements; and
               (2)  a permit, if issued consistent with the draft
  permit, would protect human health and safety, the environment, and
  physical property.
         (i-2)  A party may rebut a demonstration under Subsection
  (i-1) by presenting evidence that:
               (1)  relates to a matter referred under Section 5.557,
  Water Code, or an issue included in a list submitted under
  Subsection (e) in connection with a matter referred under Section
  5.556, Water Code; and
               (2)  demonstrates that:
                     (A)  the draft permit violates a specific state or
  federal legal or technical requirement; or
                     (B)  the draft permit, if issued, would not
  protect human health and safety, the environment, or physical
         (i-3)  If in accordance with Subsection (i-2) a party rebuts
  a presumption established under Subsection (i-1), the applicant and
  the executive director may present additional evidence to support
  the draft permit.
         SECTION 2.  Section 5.115, Water Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (a-1) to read as
         (a)  For the purpose of an administrative hearing held by or
  for the commission involving a contested case, "affected person,"
  or "person affected," or "person who may be affected" means a person
  who has a personal justiciable interest related to a legal right,
  duty, privilege, power, or economic interest affected by the
  administrative hearing.  An interest common to members of the
  general public does not qualify as a personal justiciable interest.
         (a-1)  The commission shall adopt rules specifying factors
  which must be considered in determining whether a person is an
  affected person in any contested case arising under the air, waste,
  or water programs within the commission's jurisdiction and whether
  an affected association is entitled to standing in contested case
  hearings.  For a matter referred under Section 5.556, the
               (1)  may consider:
                     (A)  the merits of the underlying application,
  including whether the application meets the requirements for permit
                     (B)  the likely impact of regulated activity on
  the health, safety, and use of the property of the hearing
                     (C)  the administrative record, including the
  permit application and any supporting documentation;
                     (D)  the analysis and opinions of the executive
  director; and
                     (E)  any other expert reports, affidavits,
  opinions, or data submitted on or before any applicable deadline to
  the commission by the executive director, the applicant, or a
  hearing requestor; and
               (2)  may not find that:
                     (A)  a group or association is an affected person
  unless the group or association identifies, by name and physical
  address in a timely request for a contested case hearing, a member
  of the group or association who would be an affected person in the
  person's own right; or
                     (B)  a hearing requestor is an affected person
  unless the hearing requestor timely submitted comments on the
  permit application.
         SECTION 3.  Section 5.228(c), Water Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         (c)  The executive director shall participate as a party in
  contested case permit hearings before the commission or the State
  Office of Administrative Hearings to:
               (1)  provide information to complete the
  administrative record; [and]
               (2)  support the executive director's position
  developed in the underlying proceeding; and
               (3)  present evidence supporting a draft permit under
  Section 2003.047(i-3), Government Code.
         SECTION 4.  (a)  The changes in law made by this Act apply
  only to a permit application that is filed with the Texas Commission
  on Environmental Quality on or after the effective date of this Act.
  A permit application filed before the effective date of this Act is
  governed by the law in effect when the permit application was filed,
  and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         (b)  Not later than January 1, 2016, the Texas Commission on
  Environmental Quality shall adopt rules to implement the changes in
  law made by this Act.  For an application filed after the effective
  date of this Act but before the adoption of rules to implement the
  changes in law made by this Act, the commission shall provide
  sufficient notice to the applicant and other participants in the
  permit proceeding that the changes in law made by this Act apply to
  the proceeding.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.