Advocates and community members will be in Austin to express support for aspects of the TCEQ Sunset Review Bill, call for bolder reforms
WHAT: On Thursday, March 23, the Texas House Committee on Environmental Regulation will hold a hearing on the TCEQ Sunset Review Bill (HB 1505). The bill proposes reforms to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state’s main environmental regulatory agency.
The TCEQ Sunset Review Bill is the culmination of more than a year-long process known as the ‘Sunset Review,’ the state’s mechanism for evaluating its agencies every 12 years. A report generated by the state as part of this review labeled the TCEQ a “reluctant regulator” for its ineffectiveness in holding polluters accountable.
The current version of the TCEQ Sunset Review Bill includes favorable provisions such as extending maximum daily fines for polluters and modest improvements to the agency’s engagement and communication with the public. Throughout the Sunset process, advocates and community members have called for a comprehensive reform of the TCEQ that would prioritize people’s health over polluting industries and include considerations of equity and justice.
A diverse coalition of community-led organizations, environmental advocates, residents, and regulatory affairs experts will attend the hearing to voice support for positive aspects of the bill. They will also call for more transformative change, including:
- Directing the TCEQ to consider the cumulative effects on health of approving multiple air permits in the same neighborhoods
- Clarifying that permit application virtual public meetings will not replace existing in-person meetings
- Removing “economic development” from the agency’s mission statement, which has led the agency to protect industry interests over public health
- Requiring the agency to consider environmental justice in its functions
Air Alliance Houston
Public Citizen Texas
Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience (CEER)
Healthy Port Communities Coalition
One Breath Partnership
WHEN: Thursday, March 23, 2023, 10:30 AM CDT or upon final adjournment of the House
WHERE: Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701, Room E2.030.
A live stream of the hearing will be available at https://house.texas.gov/video-audio/
MORE: One Breath Partnership will hold a Twitter Space conversation on Tuesday, March 21, at 2 PM CDT to look back at the TCEQ Sunset Review process, discuss the Sunset Review Bill and the upcoming hearing, and present new data on how TCEQ’s reluctance to regulate has resulted in massive amounts of air pollution in our communities. You can join the conversation here.
Air Alliance Houston is a non-profit advocacy organization working to reduce the public health impacts from air pollution and advance environmental justice through applied research, education, and advocacy. For more information and resources, please visit www.airalliancehouston.org.
Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. Visit us at citizen.org/texas.