TCEQ Announces New Public Involvement Plan
Requirements for Certain Air, Waste, and Water Permits and Registrations
Starting November 1, 2022, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will require applicants who are applying for a new registration, permit, or activity, or making certain changes to an existing registration, permit, or activity, to complete a Public Involvement Plan Form (TCEQ-20960). TCEQ’s preliminary screening provides applicants and the agency with specific information to determine the necessity of additional public outreach.
Who is Affected?
Specifically, a Public Involvement Plan is required when an application:
- requires public notice,
- is considered to have significant public interest, and
- is located in any of TCEQ’s predetermined geographical and/or metropolitan regions (Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, West Texas, Texas Panhandle, or along the Texas/Mexico Border).
The Public Involvement Plan applies to:
- Air permits and registrations, including initial New Source Review permits (and amendments thereto), initial Title V permits, initial standard permit registrations, and new facilities or processes added to existing permits.
- Waste permits and registrations, including those related to Greenfield sites, new industrial hazardous waste or solid waste permits, and underground injection control permits, among others.
- Water quality permits, including new permits, registrations, or major amendments related to Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits or the Texas Land Application Permit, among others.
- Water rights permits, including permits for new appropriations of water or amendments to existing water rights.
When completing the Public Involvement Plan Form, applicants should pay close attention to the following:
- Section 5, which requires disclosure of community and demographic information available through EPA’s EJ Screen tool (e.g., education level, per capita income, percent of minority population, percent of linguistically isolated households, languages, community stakeholder groups, and historic public interest).
- Section 6 requires information about the type of planned public outreach activities as required by rule or otherwise.
The new Public Involvement Plan Form is part of TCEQ’s continuing efforts to resolve the petition filed by NGOs with EPA in June 2022 under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Clean Air Act alleging that TCEQ is required to conduct an environmental justice analysis and review before issuing air permits. Find additional information about the new Public Involvement Plan on the TCEQ website.
B&D's Environmental Justice practice has been at the forefront of EJ issues for decades, bringing specialized private sector and government experience to bear. We represent multinational companies and municipal clients in complex disputes and high-profile project development, corporate ethics and governance, environmental compliance, and investigations related to EJ and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enforcement. For more information, please contact the authors.