HBA-MPM H.B. 3303 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3303 By: Cook Environmental Regulation 3/23/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In 1997, the 75th Texas Legislature passed legislation adding a Section 5.123 (Regulatory Flexibility) to the Water Code. This new section authorized the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to issue a Regulatory Flexibility Order to an applicant requesting an exemption from a statute or TNRCC rule regarding the control or abatement of pollution. This law required proposed alternatives to be at least as protective of the environment and public health and prohibited them from being inconsistent with federal law. Rules establishing the Regulatory Flexibility Program (program) have since been codified in the Texas Administrative Code. H.B. 3303 requires TNRCC, in implementing the program, to market it to businesses in this state through available media, to endorse alternative methods to benefit the environment, to fix and enforce environmental standards, and to work to achieve certain results for the regulated community, including providing a shorter waiting time for a permit. Furthermore, this bill authorizes TNRCC to implement cost-sharing to assist with costs for an environmental audit performed by a business subject to TNRCC regulation that employs at least 100 but no more than 250 individuals. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 5.123, Water Code, as added by Chapter 1203, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997, by adding Subsection (h), as follows: (h) Requires the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), in implementing the program of regulatory flexibility authorized by this section, to: _market the program to businesses in the state through all available media; _endorse alternative methods benefitting the environment and imposing the least onerous restrictions on business; _fix and enforce environmental standards, allowing businesses flexibility in meeting the standards in a manner that enhances environmental outcomes; and _work to achieve consistent and predictable results for the regulated community and shorter waits for permit issuance. SECTION 2. Amends Subchapter D, Chapter 5, Water Code, by adding Section 5.125, as follows: Sec. 5.125. COST-SHARING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITS BY CERTAIN BUSINESSES. Authorizes TNRCC to implement cost-sharing to assist with payment of costs for an environmental audit performed by a business subject to TNRCC regulation that employs at least 100 but no more than 250 individuals. SECTION 3. Amends Section 382.0365, Health and Safety Code, by adding Subsection (g) and redesignating existing Subsection (g) as Subsection (h), as follows: (g) Authorizes TNRCC to assist small businesses that employ at least 100 but no more than 250 individuals under this program. (h) Redesignated from existing Subsection (g). SECTION 4.Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.