This is a brief survey of many of the environmental and regulatory laws passed by the Texas Legislature and signed by the Governor in the 86th Regular Session of the Legislature, which ended in May 2019. Altogether, more than 1,300 laws were enacted in this session, including a surprising number of environmentally related bills. Most of these new laws take effect on September 1, 2019. This survey places them in the following broad categories: Air, Water; Waste; Disaster (principally because of the effects of Hurricane Harvey); and Miscellaneous. (Special thanks to Jay Bowlby, a summer intern in our Houston office, who made a significant contribution to this survey.)
HB 1627—amends Section 386.001(2) of the Health and Safety Code to remove several counties from the list of counties with deteriorating air quality subject to the Texas Emissions Reductions Plan.
HB 1346—relates to the diesel emissions reductions incentives and gives the TCEQ flexibility in administering this program.
HB 2726—concerns amended air quality permit applications. The law provides that construction of a project may proceed, at the applicant’s own risk, after the TCEQ Executive Director has issued a draft permit including the permit amendment. However, this provision does not apply to a permit amendment affecting a concrete batch plant located within 888 yards of a residence.
HB 3725—creates the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan Trust Fund, which will be held by the Comptroller and administered by the TCEQ, which also administers the TERP program.
SB 698—authorizes the TCEQ to provide expedited processing of certain Texas Clean Air Act permit applications by increasing the agency’s permitting staff.