The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality met on June 1, 2022, to take up a full agenda which included consideration of the adoption of new Section 60.4 of 30 TAC Chapter 60, Compliance History. The rulemaking was pursued in response to several large emergency incidents at Texas industrial facilities. Specifically, this new section will provide a process for the executive director to designate a site’s compliance history classification as “under review,” and to reclassify it to “suspended” if the executive director determines that exigent circumstances exist due to a significant emergency event at a site, such as a major explosion or fire, that significantly impacts the surrounding community and environment, causes emergency response efforts by federal or state governmental authorities to address actual, unauthorized pollutants, contaminants, or other materials regulated by the agency, and results in certain urgent or grave consequences.

Of note, published in the December 31, 2021, issue of the Texas Register, public comment was received, and the following changes were made:

  • Added a time limit no later than 90 days for ED to address issues
  • Notice will also be issued via email
  • Added requirement for notice for designation to be sent to site owner
  • Requirement for emergency response at issue to be by federal or state official
  • Qualified relevant evaluations to be of offsite persons
  • Limited sheltering in place by offsite persons
  • More minor changes made to ensure consistency between paragraphs
  • For more on these details and a list all changes, please visit: this link.

The TCEQ formally adopted Section 60.4 of 30 TAC Chapter 60, Compliance History as recommended by the Executive Director. The anticipated publication date of the adopted rule in the Texas Register is June 17, 2022.