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What Is The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality?

Background

The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ), known as the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission until 1993, is Texas’ state environmental agency. The agency was created by the Texas Legislature in 1991, after combining the Texas Water Commission and the Texas Air Control Board to provide synthesis and cohesion in environmental standards. The agency focuses mostly on promoting clean air and water and the safe management of waste in Texas. It also serves as a watchdog for the protection of the state’s natural resources.

Texas and the TCEQ have not always been in compliance with federal environmental standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has caused some friction between the two organizations. The TCEQ has also received complaints from other environmental groups in Texas. In 2010 they faced a lawsuit from The Aransas Project (TAP), a nonprofit focused on water conservation. TAP accused TCEQ of poorly managing the Guadalupe River Basin leading to the deaths of some whooping cranes. The birds are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The TCEQ also faced criticism from the Sunset Advisory Commission in its evaluation of the organization.

Latest Posts

Texas Pollution Worsens as Budget Shrinks for Regulators

State regulators blame big spikes in emissions to "upsets" at a few facilities

With budgets already reduced and with more cuts on the way, federal environmental regulators are expected to be doing fewer inspections of industries that pollute. And if state environmental regulators were expected to take up the slack, many of them — including those in Texas —- are dealing with budget cuts of their own. “There [...]

What’s Been Done to Prevent Another West?

State Lawmaker Leading Review Says Nothing’s Changed WEST, TX – Trucks and bulldozers are still working here, the site of an explosion a year ago today. A deadly blast tore through this small community, killing fifteen and injuring hundreds. Homes and schools were destroyed, with the damage estimated to be over a hundred million dollars. There’s a [...]

Court Thwarts Sierra Club’s Radioactive Waste Challenge

From the Texas Tribune: A state appeals court has thwarted a challenge to a low-level radioactive waste disposal site in West Texas – a ruling that signals growing difficulties for those trying to scrutinize the decisions of Texas environmental regulators. Depending on whom you ask, such a trend would either rightly save companies time and money or [...]

Texas Still Considering Solutions to Prevent Another West

This week marks a year since a fertilizer plant exploded in the small Texas town of West, killing fifteen, injuring over a hundred, and destroying homes and local schools. Today, a meeting at the state legislature made it clear that lawmakers aren’t in any hurry to use regulation to guard against something like West from happening [...]

Originally Meant for New Mexico, Diverted Nuclear Waste Arrives in West Texas

A truckload of radioactive waste that was originally meant to wind up at a storage site in Carlsbad, New Mexico arrived in West Texas today. It was just the first of many that will be crossing the state line into Andrews Countyover the coming months. The waste was initially headed for theWaste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, [...]

Mapped: Groundwater Contamination in Texas

Though the rise of fracking (and the chemicals used in the fracking process) has raised concerns about groundwater contamination, the source of a majority of Texas’ cases is far more mundane. Gasoline is the most prevalent source of groundwater contaminant in Texas, according to a Joint Groundwater Monitoring and Contamination Report put out last year [...]

Down the Drain: Who’s Watching Chemicals Used in Oil Drilling?

Sand applied to a long trail of oil drilling waste illegally dumped in Ector Co.

A case of alleged dumping of possibly thousands of gallons of chemicals into Odessa’s sewer system has local officials wondering who’s supposed to police the drilling industry. “We’re finding that there’s so much confusion in this area of law regarding who is responsible for what,” said Susan Redford, the Ector County Judge. ”So in Ector County, [...]

Drilling for Certainty: The Latest in Fracking Health Studies

From ProPublica: For years, environmentalists and the gas drilling industry have been in a pitched battle over the possible health implications of hydro fracking. But to a great extent, the debate — as well as the emerging lawsuits and the various proposed regulations in numerous states — has been hampered by a shortage of science. [...]

TCEQ Goes Against Recommended Ruling, But Still Cuts Off Rice Farmers

For the third year in a row, most Texas rice farmers along the Lower Colorado River will not have water for their crops due to the ongoing drought. Today, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved the Lower Colorado River Authority’s request for an emergency cutoff, but went against a recommended ruling by administrative law judges [...]

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