TCEQ Says Take All “Actions Necessary” to Comply with Permits and Environmental Laws

On Monday, March 23, 2020, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued guidance directing all regulated entities in Texas to “take all available actions necessary to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and permit requirements” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The TCEQ has closed its offices to visitors, while its staff continues to work at their offices as needed to maintain their normal work schedule.

Earlier today, March 25, 2020, the TCEQ issued guidance that it has exercised administrative relief and enforcement discretion for the following reporting requirements by regulated entities, that would have otherwise been due March 31, 2020.

Point Source Emissions Inventory Reporting

Per 30 TAC Section 101.10(e), point source emissions inventories (EIs) are due March 31 or as directed by the commission. TCEQ will consider 2019 point source EIs submitted on or before April 30, 2020 as timely received.

Stormwater General Permit Reporting

Per Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) stormwater general permit requirements, the following reports are due March 31 of each year for many permittees based on the requirements of the applicable general permits:

  • Small (Phase II) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4, TXR04000) Annual Reports
  • Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP, TXR05000) Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs)

TCEQ will consider the above reports submitted on or before April 30, 2020, as timely received.

Mass Emissions Cap and Trade (MECT) and Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compound Emissions Cap and Trade (HECT) Annual Compliance Reporting

Per 30 TAC Sections 101.359(a) and 101.400(a), relating to the Mass Emissions Cap and Trade (MECT) Program and Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compound Emissions Cap and Trade (HECT) Program, respectively, annual compliance reports are due by March 31 after each control period.

TCEQ will consider 2019 annual compliance reports submitted on or before April 30, 2020 as timely received.

TERP Grant Documents

TCEQ will be accepting grant documents from applicants or existing grantees under the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) by email terp@tceq.texas.gov, fax 512-239-6161, or regular mail. Grant documents submitted by email or fax must be signed by the appropriate party.

We. Are. Essential.

On March 16, 2020, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America. This guidance states that:

“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

Protection of the environment for the benefit of human health, which is the purpose of our environmental statutes and regulations, is a “critical infrastructure industry” or, using the term several Texas counties have adopted, “Essential Services.” As such, professional geologists, professional engineers, environmental scientists, attorneys practicing environmental law, and all third party contractors on which they rely to perform actions necessary to assist their clients in complying with environmental, health and safety laws, are Essential Workers.

If you or your business needs environmental assistance during this time, do not hesitate to contact the McPherson Law Firm by phone (214-722-7096) or Email (mark@texasenvironmentallaw.com). 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.

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