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Senate Committee on Natural Resources - 81st R.S. (2009)

Committee Members
Kip Averitt, Chair
Troy Fraser, Chair
Craig Estes, Vice Chair
Bob Deuell
Robert Duncan
Kevin Eltife
Troy Fraser
Glenn Hegar
Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
Mike Jackson
Robert Nichols
Kel Seliger
Carlos Uresti
Charges
• Analyze and compare the differences in cost between immediate implementation of the State Water Plan compared to staged development over time. When calculating the costs attributable to staged implementation, consider rising material costs, meeting the needs of a growing population with temporary solutions, and the costs related to potential failure of existing, aging infrastructure. Review the development of State Water Plan infrastructure projects that have been funded during the FY 08-09 and FY 10-11 biennia. Consider short-term and long:-term dedicated sources of funding.
• Review the joint planning process for management of groundwater resources and monitor the progress of groundwater conservation districts' efforts to establish, before the statutory deadline, desired future conditions for aquifers. Identify any additional resources or statutory changes necessary to promote sound groundwater management, including promotion of desalination of brackish groundwater, elimination of any exemptions, and coordination between groundwater conservation districts and activities regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Railroad Commission of Texas, and the state and regional water planning processes administered by the Texas Water Development Board.
• Monitor and review the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's rules on carbon dioxide and federal legislation on greenhouse gases. Review the participation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Department of Agriculture, and the Public Utility Commission in working collaboratively to comply with the federal mandates and in meeting federal clean air standards.
• Study the need for the state to regulate the drilling of new wells within proscribed depths and distances of Texas rivers, in order to prevent the draining of surface water from alluvial plains of river basins. Make recommendations for any needed legislation.
• Determine whether the TCEQ should identify and evaluate cumulative effects on public health and the environment due to air toxics and ozone precursor emissions proposed in applications for new air permits, air permit amendments, and air permit renewals. Make recommendations, if needed.
• Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, 81st Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation.
  • Monitor implementation of SB 16, relating to air quality;
  • Monitor the implementation of the New Technology Implementation Grant program and assess the program's effectiveness. Receive progress reports regarding the collaborative review of grant applications by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the Railroad Commission of Texas, and the Public Utility Commission as established by H.B. 1796;
  • Monitor the use of Texas Emissions Reduction Plan funds for the development of new strategies to reduce emissions; and
  • Monitor the environmental impacts, including water usage, and role of the TCEQ and other agencies in oil and natural gas development in areas of the state such as the Barnett Shale.
• Study the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) intervention in Texas air permits, including the steps taken by TCEQ and EPA to resolve technical differences, the history of the EPA's participation, or lack thereof, in the approval process, and appropriate state responses to federal actions. Review the impact of EPA's actions on Texas industries, employment and the state's economy. Make recommendation for a state response.

Note:
Senator Averitt, Chair, and Senator Fraser, Member, 1/30/2009-7/14/2010. Senator Fraser appointed Chair and Senator Nichols appointed Member, 7/14/2010 (Press release, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, 7/14/2010).
Additional charge regarding the EPA's intervention in Texas air permits added July 14, 2010.

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