Available Now: 2023 Schedule of Hazmat & RCRA Training
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 price was reasonable, the time to complete the course was manageable, and the flexibility the online training allowed made it easy to complete.

Felicia Rutledge

Hazmat Shipping Professional

I attended training from another provider and learned absolutely nothing. Lion is much better. Hands down.

Nicole Eby

Environmental Specialist

The course was very well structured and covered the material in a clear, concise manner.

Ian Martinez

Hazmat Shipping Professional

I like the consistency of Lion workshops. The materials are well put together and instructors are top notch!

Kevin Pylka

Permitting, Compliance & Environmental Manager

This course went above my expectations from the moment I walked in the door. The instructor led us through two days packed with useful compliance information.

Rachel Stewart

Environmental Manager

Lion is at the top of the industry in compliance training. Course content and structure are updated frequently to make annual re-training enjoyable. I like that Lion has experts that I can contact for 1 year after the training.

Caroline Froning

Plant Chemist

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 instructor was very knowledgeable and provided pertinent information above and beyond the questions that were asked.

Johnny Barton

Logistics Coordinator

Best instructor ever! I was going to take my DOT training w/a different provider, but based on this presentation, I will also be doing my DOT training w/Lion!

Donna Moot

Hazardous Waste Professional

Our instructor was very dynamic and kept everyone's interest. Hazmat shipping can be a dry, complicated topic but I was engaged the entire time.

Kimberly Arnao

Senior Director of EH&S

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Ace hazmat inspections. Protect personnel. Defend against civil and criminal penalties. How? See the self-audit "best practices" for hazardous materials shippers.

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.