Comments of _Your name here_ on 2011-032-060-CE: HB 2694 (4.01 and Article 4): Compliance History Draft Rules.

Polluter-friendly amendments, proposed in the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality’s new regulatory rules, serve to increase the degree of noncompliance a company is permitted with no consequence. More noncompliance means more unauthorized toxins in the air, water, and ground in communities across Texas. We are unsatisfied with the compliance history proposals because:  The TCEQ has jurisdiction over 250,000 entities all around the state. Holding one public hearing at 10 a.m. in Austin does not give citizens enough of an opportunity to give feedback. I would like to have a meeting hosted at the TCEQ office in my region so that I can participate in this process.  Increased compliance history leniency will cut the percentage of companies considered unsatisfactory from 5% to a mere 3% without reducing an ounce of pollution. Compliance standards should be raised the longer a regulation has been in place, not made less effective by changing the unsatisfactory rating cutoff from 45 to 55 noncompliance points.  The executive director will be able to pardon polluters at his discretion—instead of adhering to a standard protocol. Why have formal classifications if the director can reclassify an entity or decide that a repeat violator charge should not apply? This is a nontransparent, unstipulated and unacceptable loophole.  Polluters will improve their compliance history score by signing up for supplemental environmental programs, regardless of effectiveness. Mere participation in a voluntary pollution reduction points does not warrant a 5% reward. The formula should call for measured returns for measured results.  The TCEQ has not presented information that calculates how the new formula will affect entities. Given the denseness of the proposal’s language, I would like to have a way to interpret the new compliance history ratings.  The proposed language for repeat violations would make it very difficult for any facility with many “complexity points” to ever be considered a repeat violator. Because so many points are given for different kinds of permits, authorizations and even hazardous waste units, getting to “25” complexity points will be easy for any large industrial facility or major entity, meaning that the only way they would be penalized for being a repeat violator would be to have four or more violations over the last five years. I urge you to utilize TCEQ’s rulemaking process to implement changes that will benefit the health, communities, and resources of Texas citizens and not the pocketbook interests of businesses.

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