Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2901
By: Counts
Natural Resources


The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) adopted a new
set of rules regarding the Edwards Aquifer on September 23, 1998.  The
effective date for these rules is June 1, 1999.  The rules are divided into
two parts: Subchapter A concerns the Edwards Aquifer in Medina, Bexar,
Comal, Kinney, Uvalde, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties and applies to
all regulated developments in the "recharge zone"; Subchapter B applies to
the "contributing zone" in these same counties.  The recharge zone has been
regulated since the mid-1980s; therefore, the new rules amend existing
regulations.  However, the contributing zone had not been regulated until
these rules were adopted in September. Due to concerns from the real estate
industry, TNRCC specifically set June 1, 1999, as the effective date for
the new rules in order to allow for legislative input.  According to the
real estate industry, several outstanding issues remain regarding the
rules, including the possible lack of scientific data for the new
requirements, duplication of the federal National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System program and the negative impact of the rules on housing

H.B. 2901 creates an interim select committee comprised of representatives
from the regulated counties.  Members include engineers, developers, city
officials, builders, and TNRCC staff.  This bill gives the committee
specific direction for their study of the rules. The committee is
responsible for issuing a report to the governor, lieutenant governor,
speaker, and TNRCC.  A moratorium on enforcement of the rules is in effect
until the report of the committee is complete.  


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


Requires the governor to appoint members to an interim select committee to
study issues regarding the regulation of development of land in the Edwards
Aquifer region.  Sets forth the makeup of the committee.  Requires the
governor to make the appointments within 30 days of the effective date of
this Act.  Requires the members of the committee to elect a presiding
officer at the first meeting of the committee.  

SECTION 2. COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES.   Provides that a member of the
committee is not entitled to compensation or to reimbursement for expenses.

SECTION 3. DUTIES.  Requires the committee to meet at least once each month
and at the call of the presiding officer.   Requires the committee to
study rules adopted by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission
that have not taken effect on the date this Act is adopted by both houses
of the legislature; and govern land development or construction in counties
under the jurisdiction of the Edwards Aquifer Authority; and to report the
conclusions of the study as provided by Section 4 of this Act.  Sets forth
what the report of the conclusions of the study must include.  

SECTION 4. REPORT.   Requires the committee to present its report not later
than December 31, 1999, to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation
Commission, governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of
SECTION 5. MORATORIUM.  Prohibits, notwithstanding any other law, until the
date the report required by Section 4 of this Act is presented as provided
by that section, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission from
enforcing or acting on a rule, order, interpretation, decision, or opinion
regarding construction activity in a county under the jurisdiction of the
Edwards Aquifer Authority that was adopted, issued, or made by the
commission on or after January 1, 1998.  

SECTION 6. EXPIRATION.  Provides that this Act expires May 31, 2000. 

SECTION 7.  Emergency clause.
  Effective date: upon passage.