TCEQ Initiates Temporary Permian Basin “Find It and Fix It” Program for Air Compliance

Key Takeaways:

  • What:  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has developed a “Find It and Fix It” program for oil and gas facility air compliance.
  • Who Is Affected: Companies with oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin.
  • What Should I Do: Consider whether to undertake compliance reviews either under the new Find It and Fix It program or the Texas Environmental, Health & Safety Audit Privilege Act (Audit Act). Register for and attend TCEQ’s online workshop regarding these programs on November 17, 2020.

TCEQ has announced a temporary Find It and Fix It Initiative to facilitate improved air quality compliance from oil and gas production and processing sites in the Permian Basin. The agency will host an online workshop regarding this new program and the ongoing availability of the Audit Act on November 17, 2020, from 9:00am to 11:00am Central.

To participate, a company must submit an online Notification Form between November 2, 2020 and January 31, 2021. Participants must also submit a compliance plan within 30 days after providing notification, unless TCEQ grants an additional 30-day extension. Pursuant to those compliance plans, participants must return covered facilities to compliance (including permitting and all operational changes needed to achieve compliance) within 180 days after submitting the Notification Form. If achieving compliance within that timeframe is not possible, a company may request to enter into a Permian Basin Compliance Agreement with the TCEQ Enforcement Division.

An owner or operator of Permian Basin oil and gas operations can choose to participate in this temporary initiative or conduct self-auditing pursuant to the Audit Act, but cannot do both. Advance notice must be provided under both programs to qualify for their incentives. The Find It and Fix It Initiative only applies to compliance with requirements that are within the enforcement jurisdiction of TCEQ – not those within Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) jurisdiction. TRC regulates flaring and venting operations with respect to preventing the waste of natural resources under Statewide Rule 32 along with other aspects of oil and gas activities. Companies should consider whether compliance reviews (e.g., of flaring operations) could simultaneously reveal noncompliance with TCEQ and TRC regulations. If so, before auditing consider whether and how to utilize the Audit Act programs of both agencies to address compliance. 

As the leading law firm for environmental law and litigation, B&D helps clients in Texas, the U.S., and around the globe meet environmental, health, and safety challenges. Several of our attorneys formerly worked for TCEQ, the Texas Office of the Attorney General, and the U.S. Department of Justice. We maintain close relationships with key federal and state environmental agency personnel at TCEQ and U.S. EPA and represent clients in defense of enforcement actions. Our Air practice provides strategic, business-focused advice to the oil and gas industry. For more information, please contact the authors.