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Senate Committee on Natural Resources - 80th R.S. (2007)

Committee Members
Kip Averitt, Chair
Craig Estes, Vice Chair
Kim Brimer
Bob Deuell
Robert Duncan
Kevin Eltife
Glenn Hegar
Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
Mike Jackson
Kel Seliger
Carlos Uresti
Charges
• Study the safety of major dams, levees, and other flood control structures across Texas, and determine the appropriate responsible agency [Texas Commissioner on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) or the Governor's Office of Homeland Security] and the level of authority and funding needed to inventory, assess, repair or replace those with impairments. Develop liability and control standards for flood control structures and make recommendations to properly and safely manage these assets in the future.
• Review Texas' current air emissions inventory and evaluate the need for additional data to enhance or improve the inventory. Review current federal, state and local incentive programs related to emissions reductions and recommend improvements.
• Study and assess the use of advanced control technologies for the reduction of point source pollution emissions, including, but not limited to:
  • Identifying state-of-the-art pollution control technologies;
  • Identifying facilities which could benefit from state-of-the-art control technologies;
  • Identifying mechanisms for implementing state-of-the-art controls in Texas;
  • Reviewing the ability of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to regulate the use of pollution control technologies, including possible legislative options to grant, improve, or mandate TCEQ actions to implement state-of-the-art control technologies; and
  • Investigating the use of different approaches or methods in regulating emissions based on geographical/regional locations around the state.
• Assess the environmental impact of new electric generation sources and technologies. Collect and evaluate data related to use and conservation of water used in the production of energy. Examine the need to include electric generation facility water needs in regional water plans.
• Inventory and analyze bodies of water with high salinity. Explore new technologies and approaches to reduce salinity in the state's surface and groundwaters. Examine the need for state action to address salinity levels in surface waters of the state. Include an assessment of the following:
  • brackish desalinization projects, including brine disposal options;
  • permitting of brackish water by groundwater districts;
  • the value and potential uses for brackish water; and
  • the imposition of export fees for brackish as opposed to potable water.
• Monitor the implementation of HB 1763, 79th Legislature, Regular Session, including progress by Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCDs) on joint planning within Groundwater Management Areas (GMA) and collaboration with entities within a GMA in joint planning including areas not covered by a GCD. Study the impact of HB 1763 on the following:
  • GCD creation within areas not covered by a GCD;
  • single or partial county GCDs;
  • consolidation with existing GCDs, and within priority groundwater management areas.
Investigate issues related to groundwater use in areas of the state without a Texas Water Development Board defined aquifer, such as the Barnett Shale. Evaluate the impact of permitting the increase of the cap on export fees by GCDs.
• Review all state-created river authorities, including the powers exercised by each authority and the advisability of subjecting these authorities to legislative review. Consider options for ensuring adequate protection of public assets, improving transparency of operations, enhancing appropriate access to financial and management records, and authorizing audits by the State Auditor's office.
• Study and assess issues concerning mercury and arsenic emissions, including, but not limited to:
  • identifying the sources of mercury and arsenic pollution in air and water;
  • investigating the status of drinking water, reservoir, river, estuary, and fish and wildlife mercury and arsenic monitoring programs in Texas;
  • investigating the implementation by TCEQ of the Federal Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) on power plants in Texas;
  • studying the potential costs and benefits of including all coal/lignite burning sources in Texas, not just power plants, into the State's CAMR program; and
  • determining the legislative and regulatory mechanisms and advisability of including all coal/lignite burning sources into the State's CAMR program.
• Study the need for regional water quality standards, particularly in the Edwards and Barton Springs recharge zones.
• Monitor the progress of the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) Recovery Implementation Plan to determine, after reviewing reports to the Legislature and with input from the EAA Oversight Committee, any changes in legislation needed to implement the plan.
• Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Natural Resources Committee, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, focus on SB 3, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to water; SB 12, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to air quality; and the transfer of historic properties from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the Texas Historical Commission.

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