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Don't strip away citizen rights to contested case hearings on air quality permits

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.