HBA-NMO S.B. 708 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 708 By: Jackson Natural Resources 5/5/1999 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In 1987, Congress created the National Estuary Program, which designates estuaries of national significance throughout the country. Texas has federally designated estuaries near Galveston and Corpus Christi. However, current state law does not provide for a state estuary program. S.B. 708 establishes a grant program administered by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to provide state and federal funds for the implementation of estuary conservation and management plans by federally designated estuaries. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Chapter 5, Water Code, by adding Subchapter M, as follows: SUBCHAPTER M. ESTUARY MANAGEMENT PLANS Sec. 5.551. DEFINITIONS. Defines "approved implementation plan," "approved comprehensive conservation and management plan," "implementing agency," and "National Estuary Program." Sec. 5.552. RECOGNITION OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ESTUARIES OF TEXAS COAST. Sets forth state recognition of national significance of estuaries of Texas Coast. Sec. 5.553. FINDING OF BENEFIT AND PUBLIC PURPOSE. Sets forth legislative findings. Sec. 5.554. LEAD STATE AGENCY. Provides that the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) is the lead state agency for the implementation of approved comprehensive conservation and management plans (plans) developed under the National Estuary Program. Authorizes TNRCC to accept federal grants for purposes of this Act and to award grants and enter into contracts with an implementing agency for the implementation of approved plans under this subchapter. Sec. 5.555. STATE AGENCY PARTICIPATION. Requires the General Land Office, Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Department of Transportation, Railroad Commission of Texas, State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Water Development Board, and Texas Department of Health to participate and provide assistance to the estuary programs in implementing approved plans. Authorizes other state agencies to participate as necessary or convenient. Sec. 5.556. ESTUARY PROGRAM OFFICES. Requires that the estuary program office of any estuary of the state included in the National Estuary Program and for which TNRCC is the implementing agency be maintained in the region of the estuary involved. Sec. 5.557. IMPLEMENTATION FUNDING. Provides that funding for the implementation of approved plans is to be shared by the state, local governments in the area of the estuaries, the federal government, and other participants. Sec. 5.558. ELIGIBILITY FOR STATE FUNDING. Provides that a plan is eligible for state funding to assist in the implementation of the plan if the estuary involved has been designated jointly by the governor and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an estuary of national significance and the plan has been completed and approved. Sec. 5.559. ADMINISTRATION. Authorizes TNRCC and any state agency designated as an implementing agency for an approved plan to accept and make grants and enter into contracts to accomplish the actions identified in the approved plan and to further the purposes of this subchapter. SECTION 2. Provides that this Act has no effect if no specific appropriation is provided for this Act in H.B. 1, the General Appropriations Act. SECTION 3.Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.