Typical Schedules for Environmental Permitting at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”)

There are three potential stages to TCEQ permit deliberations:  (1) an application to draft-permit stage, (2) a hearing stage, and (3) a post-hearing/pre-final-order stage.   For the overwhelming majority of permits, there is only stage (1) and a day or so for stage (3).  However, if members of the public become involved and try to have input to the agency decisionmaking process, stage (2) can occur and stage (3) can extend for a longer time.  Air pollution permits are subject to certain federal rules that do not apply to other environmental permits, and air pollution permits, therefore, are processed on a schedule that differs slightly from the schedule for processing other types of environmental permits.  The links, below, connect to more lengthy descriptions of the factors that affect timelines for both types of permits and of the actual periods of time that are involved in the two decisionmaking processes.

Please see the following PDFs:

Time Estimates for Contested Case Hearing Process for Air Permits at TCEQ (PDF)

Time Estimates for Contested Case Hearing Process for Non-Air Permits at TCEQ (PDF)

Your Local Government May Be Able to Help You

Although the TCEQ is the main regulator of polluters and the main enforcer of pollution permits, you might be surprised at the amount of power your local governments have to inspect permitted facilities to check for problems, to initiate enforcement proceedings against polluters, and, even, to pass ordinances that help control sources of pollution.  Please follow the link, immediately below, to a short paper on some of the powers you local government likely has to help you.

What Can Your Local Governments Do to Help with Pollution Problems?

Court Decision Makes Water Planning More Rational

Our firm recently scored a victory for its clients, Ward Timber and a number of landowners in Northeast Texas,  in the 11th Circuit Texas Court of Appeals.  Texas is divided into a number of water planning regions, and the issue in the case was whether the State had a duty to resolve conflicts among or between regional plans.  In this instance, there were cities in one region that wanted to build a reservoir in another region where the reservoir was not wanted.  Turns out, the State has a duty to resolve this conflict.  Follow this link for one-page summary of the case and its issues: Ward Timber Summary.

Also, for more information, see the court of appeals’ decision [Texas Water Development Bd. v. Ward Timber, Ltd., et al., 411 S.W.3d 554 (Tex. App – Eastland 2013)], and contemporaneous news coverage: [Texas Water Plan Being Questioned by Court,” by Kate Galbraith, Texas Tribune, May 29, 2013].