Here’s a quick update on the status of the Chisum assaults on the contested case hearing process (also known as the assault on your rights to protect your community and your family from pollution).
HB 3251 – the bill to eliminate the contested case opportunity for air permit amendments to control hazardous air pollutants (mercury, toxics) from coal plants:
- HB 3251 was pulled from the House calendar for floor action and recommitted to House Environmental Regulation Committee
- Monday (May 2) it was again reported out of the House Environmental Regulation Committee and is now eligible again to be set by the House Calendars Committee for House floor action
- The bill was NOT on Tuesday’s house calendar – it could be set for House floor action as early as Wednesday, but bills are beginning to stack up on the House “general state” calendar and several major, controversial bills are already set for House floor action on the “major state” or “emergency” calendar for Wednesday and Thursday
HB 3037 – the bill to switch the burden of proof in contested case
hearings from the pollution permit applicant to the folks contesting the permit:
- HB 3037 was reported out of House Environmental Regulation Committee a couple of weeks ago but has NOT yet been set by the Calendars Committee for House floor action
BOTTOM LINE FOR THESE BILLS IN THE HOUSE – If your House member is a member of the House Calendars Committee urge them NOT to set either HB 3251 or HB 3037 on any House calendar for floor action. Contact your House member even if they are not on the Calendars Committee and urge them to vote AGAINST the bills if they are brought to the House floor.
HB 2694 – the TCEQ sunset bill that was “polluted” on the House floor by the Chisum amendments that have the identical language as HB 3251 and HB 3037.
- HB 2694 was heard in the Senate Natural Resources Committee yesterday and the Senate sponsors (Senators Huffman and Hegar) substitute for SB 657 that with none of the House amendments on the bill
BOTTOM LINE FOR THE TCEQ SUNSET BILL IN THE SENATE – If you haven’t done so already, contact your Senator and urge them to “keep the TCEQ sunset bill (now HB 2694) clean” – in other words, the bill should not pass the Senate with the Chisum amendments on the bill.
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Contribution by the Alliance for Clean Texas.
When the 82nd Legislature convened in January, we knew we were in for a fight. We knew that industry would try to weaken the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and make it easier to get permits and skirt enforcement. We knew that the odds were stacked in favor of businesses that threatened the loss of jobs over regular folks who could count days lost to illness, add up the doctors bills, calculate the lawyers fees.
But when they decided to attack our ability to protect our families and our land, they went a step too far.
Today, Texans’ right to protest the permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is under attack. Our state senators can put a stop to this. Please contact your state senator and tell him or her to maintain your right to protect your family and community!
The Texas Senate will soon debate HB 2694–the TCEQ Sunset bill. This bill, as introduced, made much-needed changes to TCEQ that would strengthen its ability to enforce environmental laws. It was the result of the 18-month TCEQ Sunset review that involved thousands of Texans from across the state. But the Texas House amended HB 2694 on the House floor to limit our rights as citizens to contest permits for most categories of pollution including air emissions, wastewater discharges and hazardous waste. The Texas House took a balanced bill and turned it into a vehicle for pro-pollution interests. Now, it’s up to the Texas Senate to put things right and restore our right to protect our families and our land.
Tell your senator to strip off the House amendments and vote for for a “clean” TCEQ Sunset bill. If you’re not sure who represents you, you can look it up here. A directory of all the state representatives is available online and includes all Capitol office phone numbers.
Texans from around the state need to call their senators. Please forward this email to your friends around the state. Even if your senator “knows better’ than to support amendments that would take away our right to defend our communities from pollution, give him or her a call. It’s essential that each senator hear from their constituents.
Thanks for taking the time to call.
Alliance for a Clean Texas
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