Bill Text: TX HB714 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the establishment of the Texas Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-03-01 - Referred to Environmental Regulation [HB714 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB714-Introduced.html
  87R3387 MP-F
 
  By: Reynolds H.B. No. 714
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the establishment of the Texas Environmental Justice
  Advisory Council.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  The heading to Subtitle G, Title 5, Health and
  Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:
  SUBTITLE G. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND JUSTICE
         SECTION 2.  Subtitle G, Title 5, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by adding Chapter 428 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 428. TEXAS ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVISORY COUNCIL
         Sec. 428.0101.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Commission" means the Texas Commission on
  Environmental Quality.
               (2)  "Council" means the Texas Environmental Justice
  Advisory Council.
               (3)  "Environmental justice" means the fair treatment
  of people of all races, cultures, and incomes in the development,
  adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental law and
  policy.
               (4)  "Review board" means the Environmental Justice
  Review Board.
         Sec. 428.0102.  TEXAS ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ADVISORY
  COUNCIL. The Texas Environmental Justice Advisory Council is
  established to advise state agencies and local governments on
  environmental justice issues.
         Sec. 428.0103.  MEMBERSHIP.  (a)  The council is composed of
  eight members appointed as follows:
               (1)  one member appointed by the commissioner of the
  Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;
               (2)  one member appointed by the executive commissioner
  of the Health and Human Services Commission;
               (3)  one member appointed by the attorney general;
               (4)  one member appointed by the executive director of
  the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs;
               (5)  one member appointed by the commissioner of
  agriculture;
               (6)  one member appointed by the executive director of
  the Texas Department of Transportation;
               (7)  one member appointed by the commissioner of
  education; and
               (8)  one member appointed by the governor.
         (b)  Members of the council serve two-year terms. 
         Sec. 428.0104.  ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE REVIEW BOARD. (a)  
  The Environmental Justice Review Board is established.  The review
  board is composed of 15 members appointed by the council as follows:
               (1)  five members from grassroots or faith-based
  community organizations; and
               (2)  10 members from public health, environmental, and
  civil rights organizations, academia, large and small businesses,
  local government officials, and organized labor.
         (b)  The review board shall meet at least four times a year
  and select a presiding officer from its membership.
         (c)  The review board shall advise the council about issues
  related to environmental justice and the action plans developed
  under Section 428.0107.
         Sec. 428.0105.  STATE PROGRAM REVIEW. (a)  The council shall
  review each state agency and state program that serves to protect
  the environment to evaluate the agency's or program's positive and
  negative effects on environmental justice for affected people.
         (b)  Upon completing a review of a state agency or program
  under Subsection (a), the council shall prepare a report
  containing:
               (1)  the council's findings from the review; and
               (2)  legislative and policy recommendations to address
  any environmental justice issues associated with the reviewed
  agency or program. 
         (c)  The council shall deliver a report prepared under this
  section to the reviewed state agency or the state agency that
  oversees the reviewed program, the governor, the lieutenant
  governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives.
         Sec. 428.0106.  REPORT ON COMMISSION ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS.
  (a)  The council shall prepare a report that reviews existing
  environmental and public health information.  The report must
  identify each facility that has or is applying for a permit issued
  by the commission. For each facility, the report must:
               (1)  evaluate the facility's positive and negative
  effects on environmental justice for affected people; and
               (2)  make recommendations for permit compliance,
  enforcement, remediation, siting, and other strategies to address
  identified instances of lacking environmental justice.
         (b)  The council shall revise the report prepared under this
  section biennially and deliver the revised report to the
  commissioner of the commission, the commissioner of the Health and
  Human Services Commission, the governor, the lieutenant governor,
  and the speaker of the house of representatives.
         Sec. 428.0107.  COMMUNITY ACTION PLAN. (a)  Representatives
  of a community that is experiencing unfair treatment in the
  development, adoption, implementation, or enforcement of
  environmental law or policy may petition the council to create a
  community action plan.
         (b)  The council shall prescribe the petition content and
  procedure for petitioning.  A petition must include a description
  of how the community is disproportionately affected by:
               (1)  environmental health risks; or
               (2)  the development, adoption, implementation, or
  enforcement of law or policy affecting public health or the
  environment.
         (c)  The council shall review the submitted petitions and
  select communities for which the council shall develop an action
  plan under Subsection (d).  The council shall develop the community
  selection criteria.
         (d)  The council, in cooperation with the review board, shall
  develop an action plan for each  community whose petition is
  selected under Subsection (c).  The council shall work with the
  citizens and local government officials of the community selected
  in developing the action plan.  The action plan must describe
  clearly steps the community may take to improve existing and future
  environmental justice for the community.  In developing the action
  plan for a community, the council shall:
               (1)  consider:
                     (A)  the allocation of resources;
                     (B)  the exercise of regulatory discretion; and
                     (C)  new environmental standards and protections;
  and
               (2)  specify:
                     (A)  community deliverables;
                     (B)  a time frame for implementation; and
                     (C)  available financial and other resources to
  implement the plan.
         (e)  The council shall present each action plan developed
  under this section to the selected community and each relevant
  state agency, recommending steps the community and state agency may
  take to facilitate the action plan's implementation.
         (f)  The council shall monitor the implementation of each
  action plan developed under this section.
         Sec. 428.0108.  RULES. The council may adopt rules
  necessary to implement this chapter. 
         SECTION 3.  (a)  Not later than January 1, 2022, the
  appropriate appointing authorities shall appoint the members to the
  Texas Environmental Justice Advisory Council as required by Section
  428.0103, Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act. The council
  may not take action until a majority of the appointed members have
  taken office.
         (b)  Not later than April 1, 2022, the Texas Environmental
  Justice Advisory Council shall appoint the members to the
  Environmental Justice Review Board as required by Section 428.0104,
  Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act.
         (c)  Not later than June 1, 2022, the Texas Environmental
  Justice Advisory Council shall begin accepting petitions under
  Section 428.0107, Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act.
         (d)  Not later than December 1, 2022, the Texas Environmental
  Justice Advisory Council shall complete the initial report required
  under Section 428.0106, Health and Safety Code, as added by this
  Act.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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