Office of House Bill AnalysisH.R. 910
By: Counts
Natural Resources


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.   


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. 


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.