TCEQ Approves Moving Forward with Revision Process for Penalty Policy

Kelley Drye Client Advisory

On Friday, September 25, 2020, the TCEQ approved moving forward with a comment process for revisions to its penalty policy. The two major recommended changes are: (1) revising into smaller units the number of events for a continuous violation” to get a more accurate picture of the actual duration; and (2) creating a 20 percent penalty enhancement for an emissions event in a county with a population greater than 75,000 (originally proposed as 85,000). The penalty policy will be made available for public comment with final revisions adopted before the end of the year.

The commission also approved initiating a potential rule revision to the compliance history rules in 30 TAC Chapter 60. The concept would allow the executive director to reclassify a site as under review” if the site has caused exigent circumstances, such as a major explosion, with impacts on a community or the environment. The major issues for consideration will be the scope of the executive director’s authority under the new rule, what will constitute an exigent circumstance”, and the duration of the reclassification.

Finally, the TCEQ will consider its Legislation Appropriations Request (LAR) at 11:00 AM central standard time on September 30, 2020.