Bill Text: TX HB1820 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced

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Bill Title: Relating to the regulation, monitoring, and enforcement of matters under the jurisdiction of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; authorizing the assessment or increase of civil and administrative penalties.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2021-05-13 - Placed on General State Calendar [HB1820 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB1820-Introduced.html
 
 
  By: Zwiener H.B. No. 1820
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation, monitoring, and enforcement of matters
  under the jurisdiction of the Texas Commission on Environmental
  Quality; authorizing the assessment or increase of civil and
  administrative penalties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Sections 374.252(b) and (c), Health and Safety
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (b)  If a registration fee is not paid on or before the 30th
  day after the date the fee is due, the commission may assess for
  each day the fee is not paid a penalty not to exceed $50 per day or
  the amount published under Section 7.0522, Water Code [for each day
  the fee is not paid].
         (c)  If a registration application for an operating dry
  cleaning facility or drop station is not filed with the commission
  on or before the 30th day after the date the application is due, the
  commission may assess for each day the application is not filed a
  penalty not to exceed $50 per day or the amount published under
  Section 7.0522, Water Code [for each day the application is not
  filed].
         SECTION 2.  Section 382.0215(b), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  The commission shall require the owner or operator of a
  regulated entity that experiences emissions events:
               (1)  to maintain a record of all emissions events at the
  regulated entity in the manner and for the periods prescribed by
  commission rule;
               (2)  to notify the commission in a single report for
  each emissions event, as soon as practicable but not later than 24
  hours after discovery of the emissions event, of an emissions event
  resulting in the emission of a reportable quantity of air
  contaminants as determined by commission rule; and
               (3)  to report to the commission in a single report for
  each emissions event, not later than two weeks after the occurrence
  of an emissions event that results in the emission of a reportable
  quantity of air contaminants as determined by commission rule, all
  information necessary to evaluate the emissions event, including:
                     (A)  the name of the owner or operator of the
  reporting regulated entity;
                     (B)  the location of the reporting regulated
  entity expressed in terms of longitude and latitude;
                     (C)  the date and time the emissions began;
                     (D)  the duration of the emissions;
                     (E)  the nature and measured or estimated quantity
  of air contaminants emitted, including the method of calculation
  of, or other basis for determining, the quantity of air
  contaminants emitted;
                     (F)  the processes and equipment involved in the
  emissions event;
                     (G)  the cause of the emissions; and
                     (H)  any additional information necessary to
  evaluate the emissions event.
         SECTION 3.  Section 382.0216, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by adding Subsections (k), (l), and (m) to read as follows:
         (k)  The commission by rule shall provide for the imposition
  of permit conditions that establish a:
               (1)  maximum number of emissions events that may occur
  in a year before the commission will temporarily revoke the
  facility's permit or take another enforcement action; and
               (2)  maximum volume of emissions events, expressed in
  terms of a percentage of permitted emissions, that may occur in a
  year before the commission will temporarily revoke the facility's
  permit or take another enforcement action.
         (l)  The commission shall enforce rules concerning emissions
  events by means of civil or administrative penalties or by
  injunctive relief as provided by Chapter 7, Water Code. The
  commission may not exempt excess emissions from penalties or
  injunctive relief.
         (m)  The commission shall develop and implement policies to
  limit the cumulative effects of emissions from maintenance,
  startups, and shutdowns of facilities. The fact that a facility
  does not exceed a threshold established under this subsection may
  not be considered as evidence of good faith or a lack of effect on
  environmental or public health.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter B, Chapter 382, Health and Safety
  Code, is amended by adding Section 382.0217 to read as follows:
         Sec. 382.0217.  EXCESSIVE EMISSIONS EVENTS PENALTY. (a) In
  this section, "emissions event" and "regulated entity" have the
  meanings assigned by Section 382.0215.
         (b)  In addition to any other penalty assessed by the
  commission for an emissions event, the owner or operator of a
  regulated entity that reports an emissions event shall pay to the
  commission a mandatory penalty of not less than $1 per pound of each
  pollutant released that:
               (1)  exceeds an authorized emission limit for the
  pollutant; or
               (2)  is not authorized by any permit, permit by rule, or
  regulation.
         (c)  In assessing penalties for an excessive emissions
  event, the commission may assess penalties based on individual
  pollutants that exceeded the owner's or operator's permit.
         SECTION 5.  The heading to Section 505.017, Health and
  Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 505.017.  NOTICE ISSUED UNDER EMERGENCIES; TOXIC
  CHEMICAL EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM.
         SECTION 6.  Section 505.017, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by adding Subsections (c), (d), (e), (f), and (g) to read as
  follows:
         (c)  If the responsible state agency determines that a
  release will substantially endanger human health or the
  environment, the agency shall, not later than 30 minutes after
  making the determination, notify persons in the area in which the
  facility is located of the release using the alert system
  established under Subsection (d). When the agency determines a
  release is no longer a threat to human health or the environment,
  the agency shall notify persons using the alert system.
         (d)  The state emergency response commission shall develop
  and maintain a toxic chemical emergency alert system to notify
  persons in the area in which the facility is located of a release
  that will substantially endanger human health or the environment.
  The commission may partner with other state agencies in developing
  the alert system and shall allow persons to register for a preferred
  method of, and preferred language for, receiving a message under
  the alert system. In developing the alert system, the commission
  may use as a model the alert systems established by Subchapter L,
  Chapter 411, Government Code, and Section 51.854, Water Code. The
  alert system must allow a person the option of not receiving the
  alerts on the person's notification to the commission.
         (e)  The toxic chemical emergency alert system must:
               (1)  provide notification through reverse 9-1-1 calls,
  text messages, e-mails, social media, and other instant messaging
  systems; and
               (2)  allow the state agency providing the notification
  to modify the notification based on:
                     (A)  the distance of the release to the person
  receiving the notification; and
                     (B)  the projected movement of the release.
         (f)  An alert issued by the toxic chemical emergency alert
  system must include:
               (1)  each area affected by the release, including a
  geographic display of the severity of the threat posed by the
  release;
               (2)  a link to an Internet website or other message
  system that maintains current information on each affected area;
               (3)  a link to an Internet website or other message
  system that describes a symptom of any illness caused by the release
  that may require emergency medical treatment;
               (4)  the chemicals involved in and toxicity of the
  release;
               (5)  the projected movement of the release; and
               (6)  instructions for protection from exposure to the
  release or for reducing exposure to the release.
         (g)  The state emergency response commission shall review
  and modify the toxic chemical emergency alert system, as
  appropriate, every four years.
         SECTION 7.  Section 7.052, Water Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a), (b), (b-1), (b-2), (b-4), (c), and (d)
  and adding Subsection (b-5) to read as follows:
         (a)  The amount of the penalty for each [a] violation of
  Chapter 37 of this code, Chapter 366, 371, or 372, Health and Safety
  Code, or Chapter 1903, Occupations Code, may not exceed the greater
  of $5,000 a day or the amount per day published under Section 7.0521
  [for each violation].
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (b-3), the amount of
  the penalty for operating a rock crusher or a concrete plant that
  performs wet batching, dry batching, or central mixing, that is
  required to obtain a permit under Section 382.0518, Health and
  Safety Code, and that is operating without the required permit is
  the greater of $10,000 or the amount published under Section
  7.0521. Each day that a continuing violation occurs is a separate
  violation.
         (b-1)  The amount of the penalty assessed against a
  manufacturer that does not label its computer equipment or covered
  television equipment or adopt and implement a recovery plan as
  required by Section 361.955, 361.975, or 361.978, Health and Safety
  Code, as applicable, may not exceed the greater of $10,000 for the
  second violation, [or] $25,000 for each subsequent violation, or
  the amount published under Section 7.0521. A penalty under this
  subsection is in addition to any other penalty that may be assessed
  for a violation of Subchapter Y or Z, Chapter 361, Health and Safety
  Code.
         (b-2)  Except as provided by Subsection (b-1), the amount of
  the penalty for a violation of Subchapter Y or Z, Chapter 361,
  Health and Safety Code, may not exceed $1,000 for the second
  violation, [or] $2,000 for each subsequent violation, or the amount
  published under Section 7.0521. A penalty under this subsection is
  in addition to any other penalty that may be assessed for a
  violation of Subchapter Y or Z, Chapter 361, Health and Safety Code.
         (b-4)  Except as provided by Subsection (b-5), the [The]
  amount of the penalty against a facility operator who violates
  Chapter 505, Health and Safety Code, or a rule adopted or order
  issued under that chapter, for each day a violation continues, may
  not exceed $500 a day or the amount per day published under Section
  7.0521 [for each day a violation continues] with a total for each
  violation not to exceed $5,000 or the total amount published under
  Section 7.0521 [for each violation]. Except as provided by
  Subsection (b-5), the [The] amount of a penalty against a facility
  operator who violates Chapter 506 or 507, Health and Safety Code, or
  a rule adopted or order issued under those chapters, for each day a
  violation continues, may not exceed $50 a day or the amount per day
  published under Section 7.0521 [for each day a violation continues]
  with a total for each violation not to exceed $1,000 or the total
  amount published under Section 7.0521 [for each violation].
         (b-5)  The amount of a penalty assessed under Subsection (b-
  4) must be tripled if a first responder is injured as a result of
  exposure to hazardous material while responding to an incident at
  the facility that is the subject of the penalty.
         (c)  The amount of the penalty for each [all] other violation
  [violations] within the jurisdiction of the commission to enforce
  may not exceed $50,000 [$25,000] a day or the amount per day
  published under Section 7.0521 [for each violation].
         (d)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), each day that a
  continuing violation occurs shall [may] be considered a separate
  violation.  The commission may authorize an installment payment
  schedule for an administrative penalty assessed under this
  subchapter, except for an administrative penalty assessed under
  Section 7.057.
         SECTION 8.  Subchapter C, Chapter 7, Water Code, is amended
  by adding Sections 7.0521 and 7.0522 to read as follows:
         Sec. 7.0521.  INCREASE OF AMOUNT OF PENALTY FOR CERTAIN
  VIOLATIONS.  Notwithstanding Section 7.052, Section 7.0525, or any
  other provision of law, the commission may increase the amount of a
  penalty assessed under this subchapter by an amount not to exceed 50
  percent of the maximum authorized penalty if the alleged violator
  has a history of previous violations.
         Sec. 7.0522.  INFLATION ADJUSTMENT OF AMOUNT OF CERTAIN
  PENALTIES.  (a)  The commission annually shall compute and publish a
  dollar amount to reflect inflation for the penalty amounts in:
               (1)   Section 7.052; and
               (2)  Section 7.103.
         (b)  In making the computation under Subsection (a), the
  commission shall consider the Consumer Price Index for All Urban
  Consumers, or its successor in function, published by the United
  States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
         (c)  The commission shall use 2021 as the base year and
  adjust the dollar amounts, effective on September 1 of each year.
         (d)  The commission shall make available to the public
  information regarding adjustments made under this section.
         (e)  The commission may adopt rules as necessary to
  administer this section.
         SECTION 9.  Sections 7.0525(a) and (b), Water Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), the amount of the
  penalty for a violation of Section 374.252, Health and Safety Code,
  may not exceed $5,000 or the amount published under Section 7.0521.
         (b)  The amount of the penalty for a violation of Section
  374.252(a)(3), Health and Safety Code, may not exceed $10,000 or
  the amount published under Section 7.0521.
         SECTION 10.  Section 7.102, Water Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 7.102.  MAXIMUM PENALTY.  (a) A person who causes,
  suffers, allows, or permits a violation of a statute, rule, order,
  or permit relating to Chapter 37 of this code, Chapter 366, 371, or
  372, Health and Safety Code, Subchapter G, Chapter 382, Health and
  Safety Code, or Chapter 1903, Occupations Code, shall be assessed
  for each day of each violation a civil penalty, as the court or jury
  considers proper:
               (1)  of not less than $50 nor greater than $5,000; or
               (2)  in the amount per day published under Section
  7.0522 [for each day of each violation as the court or jury
  considers proper].
         (b)  A person who causes, suffers, allows, or permits a
  violation of a statute, rule, order, or permit relating to any other
  matter within the commission's jurisdiction to enforce, other than
  violations of Chapter 11, 12, 13, 16, or 36 of this code, or Chapter
  341, Health and Safety Code, shall be assessed for each day of each
  violation a civil penalty, as the court or jury considers proper:
               (1)  of not less than $100 [$50] nor greater than
  $50,000 [$25,000]; or
               (2)  in the amount per day published under Section
  7.0522 [for each day of each violation as the court or jury
  considers proper].
         (c)  Each day of a continuing violation is a separate
  violation.
         SECTION 11.  Section 7.1021, Water Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (a-1) to read as
  follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (a-1), a [A] person who
  knowingly discloses false information or negligently fails to
  disclose a hazard as required by Chapter 505 or 506, Health and
  Safety Code, is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000
  for each violation.
         (a-1)  The amount of a penalty assessed under Subsection (a)
  must be tripled if a first responder is injured as a result of
  exposure to hazardous material while responding to an incident at
  the facility that is the subject of the penalty.
         SECTION 12.  Section 7.103, Water Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 7.103.  CONTINUING VIOLATIONS.  (a) If it is shown on a
  trial of a defendant that the defendant has previously been
  assessed a civil penalty for a violation of a statute within the
  commission's jurisdiction or a rule adopted or an order or a permit
  issued under such a statute within the year before the date on which
  the violation being tried occurred, the defendant shall be assessed
  a civil penalty:
               (1)  of not less than $200 [$100] nor greater than
  $50,000 [$25,000] for each subsequent day and for each subsequent
  violation; or
               (2)  in the amount per day published under Section
  7.0521.
         (b)  Each day of a continuing violation is a separate
  violation.
         SECTION 13.  Section 7.105, Water Code, is amended by adding
  Subsection (d) to read as follows:
         (d)  A penalty recovered under this section is additional to
  any penalty assessed by the commission.
         SECTION 14.  Section 7.302, Water Code, is amended by adding
  Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  After notice and hearing, the commission shall revoke,
  suspend, or revoke and reissue a permit or exemption if a violation
  of a term or condition of the permit causes a catastrophic event
  that results in the death or serious injury of an individual.
         SECTION 15.  Sections 382.0216(f) and (h), Health and Safety
  Code, are repealed.
         SECTION 16.  Sections 374.252 and 382.0216, Health and
  Safety Code, as amended by this Act, apply only to an enforcement
  action initiated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  on or after the effective date of this Act. An enforcement action
  initiated before the effective date of this Act is governed by the
  law in effect immediately before the effective date of this Act, and
  the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 17.  Section 382.0217, Health and Safety Code, as
  added by this Act, applies only to an emissions event that occurs on
  or after the effective date of this Act. An emissions event that
  occurs before that date is governed by the law in effect on the date
  the emissions event occurred, and the former law is continued in
  effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 18.  Not later than January 1, 2023, the state
  emergency response commission, as defined in Section 505.004,
  Health and Safety Code, shall establish the toxic chemical
  emergency alert system as required by Section 505.017, Health and
  Safety Code, as amended by this Act.
         SECTION 19.  Sections 7.052, 7.0525, 7.102, 7.1021, 7.103,
  7.105, and 7.302, Water Code, as amended by this Act, and Sections
  7.0521 and 7.0522, Water Code, as added by this Act, apply only to a
  violation that occurs on or after the effective date of this Act.
  For purposes of this section, a violation occurs before the
  effective date of this Act if any element of the violation occurs
  before that date.
         SECTION 20.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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