March 24th – Bill of the Day

HB 2184BAD

by Lewis

Representative Tyron Lewis (R-Odessa)

HB 2184, by Representative Tyron Lewis (R-Odessa) 512-463-0546, relates to the identification, modification, generation, and enhancement of new and existing state revenue streams from certain new and existing programs, processes, and procedures involving the state’s policy in regard to the disposition of certain low-level radioactive waste and in protection of the general health, safety, and welfare of the state’s citizens, including the prohibition on importation of waste of international origin and the establishment of certain fees and limits on waste disposal to maximize state revenue.

Public Citizen believes the following should be included in the bill:

The bill needs to require a capacity study before any changes to the compact is made. The TCEQ has submitted a letter that indicates there are good reasons to believe the need will exceed the capacity within a few years.

The bill should also include a requirement that TCEQ should do a certification prior to import of any waste.

This bill is currently pending in the House State Affairs Committee.  Concerned citizens should call the members of the committee and tell them you are concerned about this bill and that, at a minimum they should:

  1. require a capacity study.
  2. require TCEQ to do a certification prior to import of any waste.

Below is the text of the bill.  We understand a committee substitute will be offered, but it doesn’t appear to make this bill better and does not include either of the two requirements we would like to see included.  Your calls will be important in making sure whatever legislation is passed takes the health and well-being of Texas into consideration in how Texas accepts and stores low-level radioactive waste.

See our earlier blogs on the low level radioactive waste dump and the Compact Commission:

    BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

    SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that in the current climate that necessitates making difficult legislative decisions and choices involving a significant and broadly-based shortfall and deficit in state financial and budget matters that the identification, generation, and enhancement of new state revenue streams from both new and existing state programs and initiatives are urgent matters of major state policy.  To this end, the legislature further finds that this urgent matter of major state policy is effectuated by the identification, modification, generation, and enhancement of new and existing state revenue streams from both new and existing programs, processes, and procedures involving the state’s policy in regard to the disposition of certain low-level radioactive waste and in the protection of the general health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this state.  The successful implementation of the goals of these legislative findings through this Act is found to be an urgent matter of major state policy.

    SECTION 2.  Section 401.2005, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Subdivisions (8) and (9) to read as follows:

    (8)  “Non-regional waste” means low-level radioactive waste that is not generated in a host state or a party state but has been approved for importation to this state by the compact commission under Section 3.05 of the compact established under Section 403.006.  Except as otherwise provided by Section 401.245(i), non-regional waste is considered to be compact waste as defined by Subdivision (1).

    (9)  “Waste of international origin” means low-level radioactive waste that originates outside the United States or a territory of the United States.

    SECTION 3.  Section 401.207, Health and Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:

    Sec. 401.207.  OUT-OF-STATE WASTE.  (a) The compact waste disposal facility license holder may not accept low-level radioactive waste generated in another state for disposal under a license issued by the commission unless the waste is:

    (1)  accepted under a compact to which the state is a contracting party;

    (2)  federal facility waste that the license holder is licensed to dispose of under Section 401.216; or

    (3)  generated from manufactured sources or devices originating in this state.

    (b)  The compact waste disposal facility license holder is entitled to accept for disposal at the compact waste disposal facility non-regional waste that is classified as Class A, Class B, or Class C low-level radioactive waste to the extent the acceptance does not diminish the disposal volume available to non-host party states.

    (c)  The acceptance for disposal of waste of international origin at the compact waste disposal facility is prohibited.

    SECTION 4.  Section 401.2445, Health and Safety Code, is amended to read as follows:

    Sec. 401.2445.  STATE FEE.  (a) The compact waste disposal facility license holder each quarter shall transfer to the state general revenue fund five percent of the gross receipts from:

    (1)  compact waste received at the compact waste disposal facility; and

    (2)  any federal facility waste received at a federal facility waste disposal facility licensed under Section 401.216.

    (b)  In addition to the five percent fee payable for waste described by Subsection (a), the compact waste disposal facility license holder each quarter shall transfer to the state general revenue fund an additional five percent of the gross receipts from the disposal at the compact waste disposal facility of non-regional waste that is classified as Class A, Class B, or Class C low-level radioactive waste.  As a result, the state will receive total general revenue funding in the amount of 10 percent on compact waste accepted for disposal by the compact commission from other states and territories of the United States not currently parties to the compact commission.

    (c)  The fee payable under Subsection (b) does not apply to low-level radioactive waste that is generated in a host state or a party state.  Instead of being subject to the additional fee described by Subsection (b), a non-party state may become a member of the Texas compact in accordance with the applicable provisions of the compact established under Section 403.006, including payment of the party state contribution of $25 million required under Section 5.01 of the compact and payment of an additional fee of $15 million, resulting in the amount of $40 million due to the state of Texas.  One-half of the party state contribution and additional fee, a total of $20 million that is nonrefundable, shall be paid on acceptance into the Texas compact by the Texas Legislature and on satisfaction of conditions prescribed by Section 7.02 of the compact established under Section 403.006.  The balance of the party state contribution is payable on final approval by the party state’s governing body and prior to any acceptance for disposal of Class A, Class B, or Class C low-level radioactive waste.

    (d)  Eligibility to become a party state under this section is also subject to the following additional terms and conditions:

    (1)  after September 1, 2015, a state that seeks to become a party state must pay a fee of $60 million to the state general revenue fund; this subdivision expires September 1, 2020; and

    (2)  in addition to the applicable prescribed fees, a state that has previously withdrawn as a party state and that seeks to become a party state at any time after September 1, 2011, must pay the previously committed and withdrawn fee of $25 million to the state general revenue fund.

    SECTION 5.  Section 401.245, Health and Safety Code, is amended by amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsections (g), (h), and (i) to read as follows:

    (b)  The commission by rule shall adopt and periodically revise compact waste disposal fees according to a schedule that is based on the projected annual volume of low-level radioactive waste received, the relative hazard presented by each type of low-level radioactive waste that is generated by [the] users of radioactive materials, and is sufficient to reasonably support the commission’s oversight of the compact waste disposal facility and the activities of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission [the costs identified in Section 401.246].

    (g)  The compact waste disposal fees are in addition to the maximum disposal rates established by the commission under Sections 401.245-401.247 for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste generated in a host state or party state at the compact waste disposal facility. To maximize general revenue for the state, and notwithstanding any provision in this code to the contrary, the compact waste disposal facility license holder may contract with a willing generator for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste at the compact waste disposal facility at fees and rates that reflect the mutual agreement of the license holder and generator and may dispose of waste pursuant to the contract at any time prior to the adoption by the commission of compact waste disposal fees or maximum disposal rates.

    (h)  Compact generators, located in the compact states of Texas and Vermont, are not required to enter into any contract with the compact waste disposal facility license holder prior to the adoption by the commission of compact waste disposal fees or maximum disposal rates. The commission’s executive director is granted interim rate-making authority and is otherwise authorized to establish appropriate interim rate-making to facilitate the implementation of this subsection.

    (i)  Notwithstanding any provision in this code to the contrary, the disposal of non-regional waste at the compact waste disposal facility may not at any time be subject to maximum disposal rates established by the commission.  Additionally, in establishing the maximum disposal rates for generators in the host state and party state, the commission shall assume that non-regional waste will be accepted for disposal at the compact waste disposal facility and may not consider the historical operating losses incurred by the compact waste disposal facility license holder prior to operations.  Those losses shall be recovered by the compact waste facility license holder solely through revenues from the disposal of non-regional waste.  The revenues above the maximum disposal rates established under Sections 401.245 – 401.247 may not be applied to generators in the host state and party state.

    SECTION 6.  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, 2011.