Search

TCEQ Plans to Increase Environmental Penalties for 2021

Posted on 10/15/2020 by Lauren Scott

On September 24, TCEQ announced proposed significant increases to its penalty policy for environmental and hazardous waste violations in Texas. The TCEQ Penalty Policy provides a framework for the Agency to calculate fines and penalties for entities that violate State environmental and/or hazardous waste regulations. 

The proposal would change the Penalty Policy in four major ways:
  1. Increase base penalty amounts for certain categories of violations.
  2. Increase violation event categories for continuous violations
  3. Increase enhancements for penalties related to certain air emissions events
  4. Eliminate certain penalty reductions for early settlers
View proposed changes here.

TCEQ is accepting public comments on the proposed changes from now through October 31st.


Be confident you know the latest standards that apply to your site’s hazardous and industrial waste. Get your annually required training when Lion presents the final Texas Hazardous & Industrial Waste Management webinar of the year on November 18.

1. Increase Base Penalty Amounts for Certain Categories of Violations

If approved, the revisions would increase the base penalty for violations related to actual chemical releases that are classified as Moderate and Minor Harm from major and minor sources. Penalties related to Major Harm releases from minor sources would also be increased. Base penalty amounts from Major Harm releases from major sources are already set at the maximum stator amount.

Base penalties for Programmatic Major violations from major and minor sources would also be increased. Paperwork errors are one of the most common causes of Programmatic Major violations.
 

2. Increase Violation Event Categories for Continuous Violations

Under the new changes, TCEQ would revise the violation event categories into smaller units for characterizing continuous violations. For example, a moderate actual release may be counted up to weekly events (the current policy considers it up to monthly events). According to the Agency, this would provide a more accurate assessment of the violation’s duration.

Legal analysts say the changes would give TCEQ more discretion to increase penalties for long-running violations, particularly for minor and moderate violations.

However, this would not affect Actual Major and Programmatic Major violations because TCEQ is already authorized to count these violations up to daily.
 

3. Penalty Enhancement for Certain Air Emissions Events

TCEQ seeks to add a 20% enhancement to base penalties for air emissions events in highly populated areas. This policy would affect air emissions events that take place in counties with 75,000 or more residents.
 

4. Elimination of Certain Penalty Reductions for Early Settlers

When a company has had two or more final agreed enforcement actions within the last two years before a new enforcement case, Texas Water Code requires TCEQ to refer the enforcement case to the Texas Office of Attorney General (OAG). OAG often declines these cases, which would lead TCEQ to offer the respondent a 20% penalty reduction for prompt settlement.

If enacted, the proposed changes would make companies with two or more recently agreed enforcement actions ineligible for the penalty reduction during TCEQ administrative action negotiations.
 

Prep for 2021 with Hazardous & Industrial Waste Webinars

Master the unique TCEQ industrial waste regulations that facilities in Texas must know to succeed in 2021. Led by an expert Lion instructor, this one-day Texas Hazardous & Industrial Waste webinar will simplify the State rules that impact your facility.
 
Oct. 27    SIGN UP
Nov. 18    SIGN UP

Save your seat here. 
 

Tags: environmental news, environmental penalty, fine increases, fines and penalties, TCEQ, Texas, texas penalties

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The instructor was excellent. They knew all of the material without having to read from a notepad or computer.

Gary Hartzell

Warehouse Supervisor

I think LION does an excellent job of any training they do. Materials provided are very useful to my day-to-day work activities.

Pamela Embody

EHS Specialist

The instructor was very engaging and helped less experienced people understand the concepts.

Steve Gall

Safety Leader

The instructor was great, explaining complex topics in terms that were easily understandable and answering questions clearly and thoroughly.

Brittany Holm

Lab Supervisor

If I need thorough training or updating, I always use Lion. Lion is always the best in both instruction and materials.

Bryce Parker

EHS Manager

Excellent job. Made what is very dry material interesting. Thoroughly explained all topics in easy-to-understand terms.

David Hertvik

Vice President

I like Lion's workshops the best because they really dig into the information you need to have when you leave the workshop.

Tom Bush, Jr.

EHS Manager

The course is well thought out and organized in a way that leads to a clearer understanding of the total training.

David Baily

Hazmat Shipping Professional

I love that the instructor emphasized the thought process behind the regs.

Rebecca Saxena

Corporate Product Stewardship Specialist

Much better than my previous class with another company. The Lion instructor made sense, kept me awake and made me laugh!

Marti Severs

Enterprise Safety Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Hazardous materials shipment rejections bear a big cost. Use this guide to end operational and logistical disruptions that severely impact your bottom line.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.