HBA-RBT H.R. 910 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.R. 910 By: Counts Natural Resources 5/13/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Edwards Aquifer is a unique and complex hydrological system that diverse economic and social interests depend upon for their water supply. The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) is the state agency charged with implementing the Edwards Aquifer protection program to prevent pollution of this important resource and with holding annual public hearings to continually assess the actions taken to protect the aquifer. In September 1998, the TNRCC adopted rules to take effect June 1, 1999, that require construction-related controls and permanent best management practices on certain activities in the contributing zone, an area upstream of the recharge zone where rainfall washes into streams that eventually enter the recharge zone. These new regulations on land use and development in the contributing zone have raised concerns from many groups and individuals about the cost of such controls and the impact these regulations will have on new development in the region. Knowledge of the characteristics of the Edwards Aquifer and the effects of development activity on this invaluable resource is constantly changing and improving, and public concern about the new rules creates a need for a more flexible regulatory process. 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 H.R. 910 directs the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to delay the effective date of the adopted rules until January 1, 2000. Directs the TNRCC to convene a select committee on the Edwards Aquifer region to review the need for and the potential effectiveness, efficiency, and the economic impacts of regulations adopted by the TNRCC that apply to regulated activities, as well as activities in the contribution zone that have not taken effect as of January 1, 1998. Sets forth the composition of the select committee. Requires the select committee to assist in the continuing evaluation of the Edwards Aquifer Authority rules, with specific emphasis on the cost of implementing and maintaining permanent best management practices and their effectiveness in controlling pollution of the Edwards Aquifer. Requires the select committee to be constituted no later than June 30, 1999, and hold its first meeting no later than July 15, 1999. Requires the select committee to submit a report, including findings and recommendations, to the governor, the TNRCC, and the Texas Legislature not later than December 31, 2000.