2011 Bills of Interest

The Alliance for a Clean Texas is tracking bills in the 82nd Texas Legislature in the following categories: Air, Clean Energy, Land, Waste & Recycling, Water, Gas Drilling and TCEQ Sunset. For current information on a bill’s status, click on the bill number. You will be directed to the Texas Legislature Online–the state’s legislative website.

Air

HB 820 Farrar
Relating to monitoring air contaminants under the Texas Clean Air Act.
This bill would take the next step of introducing the latest in air emission sensing and monitoring technologies – namely, fence line monitors – which have proven so effective at reducing air pollution and improving efficiencies at petrochemical facilities.

HB 830 Dutton
Relating to the consideration of the cumulative effects of air
contaminant emissions in the emissions permitting process.

This bill would direct TCEQ to consider the cumulative effects of new emissions from proposed facilities on public health when issuing permits.

HB 919 Allen
Relating to monitoring, permitting, and reducing emissions of certain air contaminants and pollutants.
HB 1981 Smith, Wayne
Relating to measuring, monitoring, and reporting emissions.
These bills would establish the Air Pollution Watch List through statute. HB 919 would require measures to inform the public about air contaminants in their communities, including public meetings in the areas on the list, and the development and implementation of a strategic plan to remove the area from the list by reducing the emission levels of pollutants. While ACT supports the establishment of the Air Pollution Watch List, we recommend that it be established through the rulemaking process rather than by statute, to allow stakeholders participation.

Clean Energy

SB 330 Watson/HB 774 Anchia/HB 211 Rodriguez
Relating to renewable energy capacity, jobs and trading credits
Relating to this state’s goal for renewable energy.
These bills raise the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard which guarantees to investors, if they build renewable power, there will be a market in which to sell it.
HB 2961 Darby
Relating to the creation of a program for the development of solar energy industry in this state.
This bill creates a rebate program to incentivize the installation of solar and bring down the up front expense of solar.

SB 1340 Carona
Relating to the creation of the Energy Efficiency Council and to statewide energy efficiency; providing penalties.

This bill is the large energy efficiency package that changes the metric used to determine what the state’s goals are for efficiency, updates building codes, centralizes the reporting of data, and creates a coordinating council to create efficiency in the governmental entities that administer energy efficiency programs.

HB 340 Gallego/HB 776 Anchia
Relating to net metering for retail electric service customers and compensation for excess electricity generated by a retail electric customer’s on-site generator.
This bill creates a statewide net metering policy so people who install renewable generation at their home or business are compensated or credited for any excess electricity they produce and put on the grid.

Land

SB 449 Watson | Estes/HB1733 Ritter
Relating to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open- space land devoted to water stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.
This bill provides an incentive for landowners who choose to engage in stewardship practices on their land that benefit water quality and quantity.

SB 136 Wentworth
Relating to granting counties authority to regulate certain land use; providing penalties.
This bill expands county land management tools regarding water infrastructure and fire suppression systems.

SB 137
Wentworth
Relating to the authority of a county to regulate land development after a local option election.
This bill expands county land management tools including buffer areas between incompatible land uses and fees for offsite road improvements.
HB 2317 Miller, Doug
Relating to granting Hill Country counties regulatory authority and the authority to impose development fees for roadway infrastructure; providing penalties.
This bill expands county land management tools for Bandera, Comal, Gillespie and Kendall Counties including buffer areas, offsite road improvement fees and density averages.

ACT is monitoring HB 1, the main budget bill, and SB 1584 Ogden/HB 3418 Darby, “relating to state fiscal matters related to natural resources and the environment,” including TDPW.

Waste & Recycling

HB 1966 Chisum/SB 329 Watson
Relating to the sale, recovery, and recycling of certain television equipment; providing administrative penalties.
These bills would require TV manufacturers to set up recycling programs for old TVs. ACT supports HB 1966/SB329.
HB 821 Farrar
Relating to a prohibition on the disposal of certain used equipment at a municipal solid waste facility; creating an offense
HB 3209 Harless
Relating to the computer equipment recycling program; creating an offense.
These bills will prohibit the disposal of computer equipment in landfills and incinerators in Texas in order to spur the use of the 2007 Computer TakeBack Law. ACT supports HB 821 and HB 3209.

HB 1913 Hancock/SB 908 Fraser
Relating to requirements for businesses that offer plastic checkout bags to customers.
This legislation would require large retail grocery stores that use plastic check-out bags to provide plastic bag recycling and to sell reusable bags; however it could take away the ability of local governments from addressing the costs of plastic bag pollution, an estimated $25 million per year in Texas. ACT opposes this bill in its current version.

HB 1914 Smith, Wayne
Relating to financial assurance required for certain commercial solid waste facilities by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
This bill will increase financial assurance for liquid waste facilities that handle grease and grit trap waste and other wastes so that those will bad records will have to put up more money to avoid the state or local governments from having to pay for clean up at problem facilities. ACT supports HB 1914

HB 2114 Coleman/SB 1119 Ellis
Relating to beverage container deposits and recycling; providing penalties.
These bills would require a refundable deposit of 5¢ for a single-serving aluminum, glass or plastic beverage containers and 10¢ for larger beverage continers. This bill would reduce pollution, create jobs in recycling and the unrefunded deposits could supply $100-$200 million in extra revenue for the General Fund. ACT supports HB 2114/SB 1119.

Water

SB 181 Shapiro/HB 1319 Laubenberg
Relating to the reporting of water conservation measures by municipalities and water utilities.
This legislation promotes more precise measures of water conservation and efficient use of water so that state and local officials and the public may better evaluate the progress of water suppliers toward meeting the goals and targets of their water conservation plans.

SB 660 Hinojosa/HB 3530 Ritter are the “sunset” bills for the Texas Water Development Board; they contain acceptable water conservation reporting provisions. ACT opposes any attempt to amend SB 660 or HB 3530 to eliminate the Water Conservation Advisory Council.

SB 1 Ogden/HB 1 Pitts
Article VI in both bills includes the appropriations for the Texas Water Development Board and TCEQ. ACT supports retaining existing funding for the water conservation efforts at both agencies (one-fourth of the state’s future water needs are to be met through water conservation measures, according to the current state plan).
HJR 137/138 and HB 3273 Ritter
These two proposed constitutional amendments (which require voter approval) and the accompanying “enabling” bill would authorize $6 billion in bonds for water and wastewater projects and establish a new state water plan implementation fund. At least 20% of the money from the new fund would have to be spent on water conservation or reuse projects. ACT recommends that the new fund also be used for protection of stream flows and freshwater inflows to bays and estuaries. The $6 billion bond authorization would be perpetual – as loans for projects are paid off, new bonds could be issued as long as the $6 billion cap was not exceeded. ACT urges limiting that authorization to ten years or less, to hold state water finance officials accountable to the public.

SB 667 Duncan
Relating to the management of groundwater resources in this state and the rights of landowners in groundwater.

This bill recognizes both public and private groundwater rights and the need to manage groundwater responsibly. Our state’s future well being, both economic and environmental, depends upon a system that recognizes legitimate limitations on groundwater withdrawal and strives ultimately for sustainability of groundwater resources. As groundwater management is discussed in the 82nd Legislature, ACT supports the approach to groundwater laid out in Senator Duncan’s bill.