Senate Interim Committee on Natural Resources
TEXAS AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY
Study the Texas aquaculture industry and its effects on state
bays and estuaries.
The regulatory authority of
the Texas Department of Agriculture over the industry should be
abolished. Responsibility for monitoring and preventing the occurrence
of disease should be given to the Texas Animal Health Commission.
In the event of an outbreak of disease at a facility, the Texas
Animal Health Commission should be required to notify both the
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Natural Resource
Conservation Commission (TNRCC). That facility would then be
ordered to halt wastewater discharges.
The Texas Animal Health Commission
and the Texas Department of Health should conduct a joint study
of waste disposal practices at seafood processing plants. The
study should focus on the occurence and possible transport of
disease and ways to safely dispose of this waste.
The Aquaculture Executive
Committee should be abolished and replaced with a Memorandum of
Agreement between TNRCC, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
and the Texas Animal Health Commission.
Establish a committee composed
of a representative from TNRCC, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
and the Texas Animal Health Commission. The committee would review
applications for permits to discharge wastewater to ensure state
bays and estuaries would not be adversely impacted.
Coordinate among state regulatory
agencies to ensure quick action on unauthorized discharges or
discharges from a contaminated site.
A commission should be established
to conduct an exhaustive study of wastewater discharge from mariculture
COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS AND RISK ASSESSMENT
Study the use of cost benefit analysis and risk assesment in environmental
Any affected rule that is
adopted by a state agency should use the "heightened scrutiny"
The use of the heightened
scrutiny approach in environmental permitting would apply to any
regulations that exceed a federal standard, express requirement
of state law, or a delegation agreement or contract. It would
also apply to regulations adopted solely under the general powers
of the agency.
When adopting an affected
rule, an agency should identify the problem to be addressed; determine
whether a new regulation is necessary to address the problem;
and consider benefits and costs of the proposed regulation to
state agencies, local governments, the general public, the regulated
community, and the environment.
When adopting rules an agency
should provide the maximum flexibility to the regulated community
in methods of complying with the rule.
The draft impact statement
should identify when a specific command and control requirement
is the only regulatory option and explain why that method is preferable.
A rule should be adopted only
after the agency makes a finding that the rule is both effective
and economic costs are not substantially greater than alternative
INTERSTATE OZONE TRANSPORT AGREEMENT
Monitor the Environmental Protection Agency interstate ozone transport
agreement and the agreement's impact on Texas.
The Ozone Transport Assessment
Group project may have serious implications for the manner in
which air quality is protected in Texas, and may, as it currently
is being developed, contain material scientific flaws as well
as substantial inequities in the treatment of regions and sources.
TNRCC should participate in
the Ozone Transport Assessment Group project to the extent possible,
with the aim of preventing areas classified as Prevention of Significant
Deterioration from being subjected to non-attainment provisions.
TNRCC should report to the
Senate Natural Resources Committee on the status of and any legislation
required to implement the Ozone Transport Assessment Group proposals
prior to the start of the 75th Legislature.
PETROLEUM STORAGE TANKS
Monitor the implementation of the Petroleum Storage Tank Bill,
H.B. 2587, 74th Legislature.
PETROLEUM STORAGE TANK PROGRAM
Although the 74th Legislature significantly amended the Petroleum
Storage Tank (PST) program at TNRCC, the PST program's principal
mission has not repaired or removed leaking underground storage
tanks, remediated contaminated sites surrounding those tanks or
safeguarded the environment.
Several recommendations were made to help decrease the level of
Conduct a Site Assessment.
A thorough risk-based site
assessment involves a preliminary investigation, site investigation,
and a report of all findings. Assessing the risk potential of
a site involves identifying the hydrocarbon plumes, their rate
of movement, and what their potential impact is.
Determine a Target Cleanup
Plan A- Plan A is a
generalized cleanup level based upon specified methods. It uses
conservative assumptions regarding potential human exposure.
Regulatory review is lessened in exchange for a more prescriptive
Plan B- Plan B allows
flexibility in selecting an approach to site cleanup. Plan B
requires that a limited risk assessment be completed and involve
a more rigorous assessment than Plan A.
Propose and Implement a Corrective
Identify the most cost-effective
plan for achieving cleanup goals.
Conduct pilot testing or other
design criteria, if not previously performed.
Prepare a work plan cost proposal
for optimal corrective action and submit for TNRCC review.
Implement the work plan after
it is approved by TNRCC.
Monitor the results of the
Corrective Action Plan and seek final TNRCC approval.
A Quarterly Monitoring Program
should be established to ensure the completion of the Corrective
Action Plan after the work plan has been completed and the target
cleanup goals have been achieved.
If the concentration levels
of targeted pollutants remain at or below the original target
cleanup goals for one year, the responsible party may apply to
TNRCC for a Site Closure Letter which will certify that the site
has been remediated to commission standards.
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT
Monitor the effectiveness of H.B. 2473, 74th Legislature in increasing
voluntary reporting of environmental violations.
Direct TNRCC to continue to
work with the EPA to fully explain the Texas law and show the
EPA why its concerns are unfounded. Encourage the EPA to allow
the Texas law to work by ceasing to make negative comments about
Direct the Senate Natural
Resource Committee to continue monitoring the implementation and
effectiveness of the audit law because there is no sufficient
indication that the law is or is not working, although initial
results are positive.
Encourage TNRCC and other
agencies to continue their efforts to implement the law. Encourage
companies to seek out possible noncompliance and bring any discovered
violations into compliance.
COLUMBIA BOTTOMLANDS PROTECTION PLAN
Examine the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to enact
the Columbia Bottomlands Protection Plan in Brazoria, Matagorda,
Fort Bend and Wharton counties, and determine the effects of the
plan on the region.
The Four County Task Force
Co-Chairmen agree that the preservation and protection of these
coastal woodlands can best be achieved through conservation easements,
wildlife management cooperatives, or technical assistance for
The co-chairmen feel that
before any future efforts are taken on behalf of the "bottomland
hardwoods" habitat, a definition should be agreed upon between
the private and public sectors.
The co-chairmen believe urban
development should be used as a tool by local planners to promote
habitat preservation and appreciation of the area's natural resources.
To accomplish these tasks,
the co-chairmen would like to adopt the findings of the Four County
Task Force's Subcommittees on Habitat Management and Natural Resources
to monitor the status of the forest habitat within Brazoria, Fort
Bend, Matagorda, and Wharton counties. In addition, the co-chairmen
recommended that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department be designated
the primary steward of public lands within the State of Texas.
IMPLEMENTATIONS OF THE PROPERTY RIGHTS
Monitor the implementation of the property rights legislation
(S.B. 14, 74th Legislature).
This legislation was written in order to correct the Texas Constitution's
Article 1, Section 17, which covers private property rights.
Article 1, Section 17, ensures that private property owners are
fairly compensated when their property is taken for public use.
However, previous to S.B. 14 there was no statute which addressed
the concerns of private property owners who believe governmental
actions had resulted in reduced market value of their property,
thus causing the property to be susceptible to a taking without
All named agencies should
make final determinations to ensure that their rules are not affected
by S.B. 14. These agencies will also create and comply with a
specific Takings Impact Assessment (TIA) document. Also, when
more than one agency is involved in creating a TIA, a lead agency
should be named to coordinate such activity.
All counties should adhere
to S.B. 14 as of September 1, 1997. No exemptions will be granted
on behalf of the county after this date. Agencies may approach
the committee and seek correction if a function of that agency
is affected by S.B. 14 but was not intended by the legislature
to be affected. Also, modifications for active litigation may
become necessary, dependent on outcome.
WASTE TIRE RECYCLING LEGISLATION
Monitor the implementation of the 74th Legislature's S.B. 776,
waste tire recycling bill.
Some 55,000 tires are discarded every day in Texas. Until 1989
most tires were disposed of in landfills, thereby posing significant
hazards to the health, safety, and welfare of citizens and the
environment. That year the 71st Legislature adopted the Waste
Tire Recycling Program, which banned the disposal of whole tires
in landfills and sought to eliminate existing tire landfills.
Subsequent legislatures have significantly expanded upon the
original recycling bill. Current law bans all forms of tires
in landfills (including shredded tires), promotes the use of products
made from recycled tires, provides financial incentives to encourage
the use of waste tires as fuel, and requires consumers to pay
a small fee to cover tire recycling expenses.
The program, while continuing
to ensure that tires are collected, should not interfere with
free trade, flow control or private enterprise of tire recycling
TNRCC should implement an
easily accessible database of all program participants.
TNRCC should take an active
role in the public education of end-use practices.
TNRCC should continue to hold
Scrap Tire Market Development Conferences as needed.
Audit and enforcement activities
should be strengthened as necessary to ensure that no illegal
dumps are created.
TNRCC should adopt the use
of Scrap Tire and Rubber Recycling Terminology, as defined
by the ARA Tire and Rubber Recycling Advisory Council.
Change the name of the program
from "Waste Tire Recycling Fund Program" to "Scrap
Tire Recycling Fund Program." Use the phrase "scrap
tires" instead of "waste tires." Currently these
phrases are used interchangeably.
Change the current program
sunset date from December 31, 1997 to December 31, 2001.
Effective January 1, 1998,
reduce the current collection fee on passenger tires from $2.00
per tire to $1.50 per tire. The $3.50 agriculture tire fee should
remain the same. From January 1, 2000 until December 31, 2001,
reduce the collection fee on passenger tires to $1.00 per tire.
Reduce the agriculture tire fee to $2.00 per tire for this time
Discontinue collection of
the fee on "good used tires." The tracking of the collection
of this fee has proved arduous at best. In addition, the selling
of these tires is recycling in its truest form.
Access the tire fee at the
wholesale level rather than the retail level. All new tires will
still be covered but the collection and administration responsibilities
will be reduced significantly.
Reduce fee paid to comptroller
from 2 percent to 1 percent of fees received through the program.
The comptroller's responsibility will be significantly reduced
with changing the fee collection from retailers to wholesalers.
The total amount of funds
collected from fees on new tires should be appropriated for use
in the program. Any current balance of unappropriated funds should
be appropriated for use in the program.
Change the scrap tire equivalent
from 18.7 pounds to 20 pounds.
Allow transporters the ability
to charge the generator for the collection of scrap tires.
Change the focus of the program
from the middleman to the end-user by eliminating the reimbursement
being paid to processors for shredding.
to include: civil engineering practices; user of scrap tire material
for energy recovery purposes; pyrolysis; products made from scrap
tires; and any other process or product that the TNRCC determines
meet the objectives of the program.
The making of crumb rubber
or the baling of tires is not determined to be an end-use. In
order for these processes to be considered for end-use benefits,
a verifiable contract must be presented for the actual end-use
of these processes (i.e., a contract for use of X pounds of crumb
rubber in a product, or the use of baled tires in an end-use application).
Give incentives for end-use,
whether through grants or end-user reimbursements. Grants would
only be available for recycling facilities or processes located
recycling markets by reimbursing end users who remove tires from
the waste stream of Texas. Out-of-state regional recyclers must
demonstrate scrap tires collection in Texas; transportation of
state tires out-of-state; delivery of Texas generated tires to
an out-of-state processor who sorts, grades, and recycles the
tire derived material in accordance with the end user of scrap
tires material; and demonstrate active end user contracts for
tire derived material.
As a last resort (as determined
by TNRCC), allow disposal of scrap tires in a monofill until such
time as TNRCC determines that there is sufficient end-use for
all current generation tires in the state.
Give TNRCC discretion in using
financial assurance funds for any abandoned processor site (i.e.,
request for bids utilizing stored tire chips at a processor's
facility up to the total amount of financial assurance).
Give TNRCC more flexibility
to enable the agency to amend the program specifics in emergency