The State of Texas, through its Office of Attorney General (OAG) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), is still open for business and continuing to operate, albeit with a few adjustments to accommodate safety needs from the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus. If you have business with the State, the State expects you to continue as well.
At the OAG, the State has sent their attorneys home to telecommute. When I call a State attorney’s direct dial number, it is automatically forwarded to their cell phone on their person (at their house). We conduct our business, and life goes on. Email communication continues as though nothing unusual is even happening.
At TCEQ, staff remains available both in office and via telecommuting. TCEQ remediation programs, which include the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), Corrective Action Program (CAP), Innocent Owner Program IOP), Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank program (LPST), Dry Cleaner Remediation Program, are all continuing and will always be deemed “essential services” even if the government otherwise shuts down. Under threat of a coronavirus pandemic, like we are now, maintaining clean air, water, and soil, and managing our waste appropriately, is exactly what our society requires to overcome an outbreak. It is the very definition of “essential.”
As such, do not expect the State of Texas to relax, or slow down, or reduce, or excuse, or delay, any enforcement efforts, compliance requirements, or contamination standards in response to COVID-19. The same needs to be said of you.
McPherson Law Firm PLLC is also fully operational (while practicing social distancing) during this time. All lines of communication – phones, fax, email, Certified Mail – are open and being used. As a matter of practice, in every new case I make sure at the very beginning to give my cell phone number to the OAG and TCEQ staff so they know they have a way to immediately contact me about the case. Because of proactive policies like this, when something unexpected like COVID-19 hits, it has little to no effect on our relationship with the State.
So, if you or your business needs environmental assistance during this time, do not hesitate to contact the McPherson Law Firm PLLC. We can set up a video conference or teleconference with you, and email is the quintessential way to communicate at a social distance. We are here for you, ready to assist as effectively as ever.
For more information about how we can continue offering service to you, contact us online or call