Senate Natural Resources Committee to discuss environmental safety, waste disposal regulation, and monitoring of agencies

Austin – The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development will have a hearing tomorrow (Wednesday, September 5, 2018) to review interim charges related to environmental safety, waste disposal regulation, and monitoring of agencies under the committee’s jurisdiction.

Among the items to be discussed are environmental safety in emergencies, and Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) Sunset. Last session, after news reporting revealed that the RRC failed to let the public know about numerous well leaks, and the Sunset Commission in 2016 also found deficiencies in reporting, Sen. Rodríguez, a member of the NRED Committee, filed SB 567, SB 568, and SB 569, which would have increased fines, reporting, and a review of RRC rules, respectively.

The interim charges to be discussed tomorrow are as follows:

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018

· Environmental Safety: Study the strategies and best practices for ensuring environmental safety during maintenance, startup and shutdown activities due to emergencies. Recommend actions to improve safety without compromising compliance or penalizing good actors.
· Waste Disposal Regulation: Study the permitting and compliance processes for waste disposal and processing, including evaluating the criteria for approval, denial, and application return. Make recommendations for improving and streamlining the permitting and compliance processes while maximizing public participation for effective outreach and education. Review the allocation of the Municipal Solid Waste disposal fees and make recommendations regarding allocation methods to adequately support existing programs.
· Monitoring: Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committees’ jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature, including:
o Texas Railroad Commission Sunset and funding;
o Environmental Regulatory and legal Primacy; and
o The effectiveness of emission reductions recognized from the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) and grant flexibility.

The hearing begins at 9 a.m. CST in Austin (8 a.m. MST in El Paso). You can find the live stream here:

José Rodríguez represents Texas Senate District 29, which includes the counties of El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, and Presidio. He represents both urban and rural constituencies, and more than 350 miles of the Texas-Mexico border. Senator Rodríguez currently serves as the Chairman of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus, and is a member of the Senate Committees on Natural Resources and Economic Development; Transportation; Veteran Affairs and Border Security; and Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs (Vice Chair).

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