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

Lion is easily and consistently the best option for compliance training. I've learned new information from every instructor I've had.

Rachel Mathis

EHS Specialist

Very good. I have always appreciated the way Lion Tech develops, presents and provides training and materials.

John Troy

Environmental Specialist

These are the best classes I attend each year. I always take something away and implement improvements at my sites.

Kim Racine

EH&S Manager

Lion's online training is more comprehensive, has better slides, and is a superior training experience than what I would get from other trainers.

Robert Brenner

District Environmental Manager

I have been to other training companies, but Lion’s material is much better and easier to understand.

Mark Abell

Regional Manager

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

The instructor was very patient and engaging - willing to answer and help explain subject matter.

Misty Filipp

Material Control Superintendent

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

This is the best RCRA training I've experienced! I will be visiting Lion training again.

Cynthia L. Logsdon

Principal Environmental Engineer

I can take what I learned in this workshop and apply it to everyday work and relate it to my activities.

Shane Hersh

Materials Handler

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Get to know the top 5 changes to OSHA’s revised GHS Hazard Communication Standard at 29 CFR 1910.1200 and how the updates impacts employee safety at your facility.

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.