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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.

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