Rep. Biedermann Meets with TCEQ Executive Director

January 29, 2019

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kyle Bie­der­mann met with TCEQ Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Toby Bak­er. Please read Rep. Bie­der­man­n’s full state­ment below:

“This past week in my pur­suit for find­ing out what the TCEQ can do for Dis­trict 73, I and mem­bers of my staff met with the TCEQ Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Toby Bak­er, and senior mem­bers of his staff. We spent time explain­ing the land devel­op­ment issues in Dis­trict 73 and how many of the devel­op­ers appeared to be envi­ron­men­tal stew­ards and oth­ers were not. Some devel­op­ers were seri­ous about pro­tect­ing larg­er areas of the Hill Coun­try while some appeared to be more inter­est­ed in mak­ing mon­ey and mov­ing on to oth­er projects. I explained my pro­posed bill on Munic­i­pal Util­i­ty Dis­tricts (MUD) and the need to have more local mem­bers as MUD board mem­bers, the need to change the emi­nent domain restric­tions to include waste­water dis­charge loca­tions, and the need to ensure that the peo­ple liv­ing in the MUD were more prompt­ly and ade­quate­ly informed of any legal actions pend­ing against the MUD.

We thor­ough­ly dis­cussed the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and growth poten­tial for aggre­gate pro­duc­tion oper­a­tions. I have pro­posed one bill to strength­en and enhance the exist­ing TCEQ air per­mit­ting pro­gram. My bill out­lines a two-prong approach where the TCEQ and the aggre­gate indus­try should joint­ly con­duct an air base­line study of the entire quar­ry area. The end result would be an envi­ron­men­tal assess­ment includ­ing a health assess­ment on what the air data shows for APO’s in Texas. The infor­ma­tion would either val­i­date the cur­rent data that is being used in the state’s air mod­els or cause the TCEQ to require the APO’s to pro­vide peri­od­ic air sam­pling in accor­dance with their new­ly devel­oped air per­mit require­ments. In con­junc­tion with air, I empha­sized the need for the TCEQ to work close­ly with ground­wa­ter con­ser­va­tion dis­tricts (GWCD) before an APO per­mit issued. Present­ly, APO per­mits are being issued in Dis­trict 73 with some lev­el of reg­u­la­to­ry review of the APO’s pro­posed use of ground­wa­ter. How­ev­er, the GWCD must be able to per­form an in-depth review before the TCEQ issues their per­mit. In addi­tion, I also sup­port the Texas Rail­road Com­mis­sion (TRRC) being assigned a new role involv­ing their review of new­ly estab­lished require­ments for reclaim­ing all APO land. In essence, I rec­om­mend­ed that the TCEQ would main­tain it’s senior reg­u­la­to­ry role but GWCD’s and the TRRC would also have reg­u­la­to­ry roles.

We final­ly dis­cussed the need for a dif­fer­ent lev­el of pub­lic involve­ment. I stressed that seri­ous dis­cus­sions need to occur with­in the state leg­is­la­ture and exist­ing stat­ues need to be revised. This is need­ed to ensure the pub­lic is bet­ter informed and the pub­lic have ample oppor­tu­ni­ties to pro­vide their thoughts and rec­om­men­da­tions on an issue.

All of the top­ics I raised with Mr. Bak­er will involve some lev­el of statu­to­ry changes in exist­ing laws regard­ing the TCEQ to make them stronger and more pro­tec­tive of the Hill Coun­try and the state of Texas. I will con­tin­ue to work hard to devel­op coali­tions with my fel­low leg­is­la­tures to ensure these bills are time­ly placed in their cor­rect com­mit­tees and then seri­ous­ly eval­u­at­ed. As equal­ly impor­tant, I will work close­ly with with my Hill Coun­try col­leagues and oth­er leg­is­la­tures to have these bills become law.

I have cre­at­ed sub­ject mat­ter work­ing groups, and I encour­age all inter­est­ed per­sons liv­ing in Dis­trict 73 to sign up to the groups you are most inter­est­ed in. I will be intent­ly look­ing to your obser­va­tions and insights regard­ing each of these impor­tant top­ics and peri­od­i­cal­ly con­tact­ing var­i­ous mem­bers in each work­ing group. I am look­ing for­ward to hear­ing from you and dili­gent­ly work­ing to pro­vide a high qual­i­ty of life in Comal, Kendall, and Gille­spie Counties.”Biedermann with TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker

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