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Jun 13 2017

Anderson Responds to Question Posed by TCEQ Commissioners and Austin American-Statesman Article

(Houston) – June 13, 2017 – Note from the Editor


My responses to the TCEQ Commissioner’s Question of me and the Austin American Statesman Article about my commissioner candidacy:


–“Won’t work.”


— “Not confusing.”


jed commish


The TCEQ Commissioners questioned me on HB 1290.  The Commissioners are putting full faith in HB 1290 to simplify the environmental regulatory system.  It won’t work.  No action is required.  Just talk. (see below).

The Austin American-Statesman said I was confusing some Capitol-watchers with my approach to becoming the next TCEQ commissioner.  It’s only confusing if you see this just as a person trying to get a job.  It’s not confusing once you see this as part of a push for something much different and much bigger than another person sitting on the Commission.  We don’t need just a Commissioner.  We need a Commissioned.  (see below).

TCEQ Commissioners Relying on HB 1290 to Simplify the Environmental Regulatory System

The Commissioners asked me about HB 1290 during the Agenda meeting last week.  The Commissioners intend to rely on HB 1290 to simplify their rules.  Won’t work.  TCEQ is exempt from the only part of the bill that requires action.  Section 2001.0045(c)(7) states:

The section does not apply to a rule that . . . is adopted by . . . the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.”

TCEQ in other words is exempt from the only part that requires “walk” instead of “talk”.  Moreover, even if Section 1 applied, it does not decrease the size of the regulatory system.  It just caps the system at its current size—which is way too big.   It’s like if you weighed 400 pounds and decided that the best course of action was to implement a diet program that kept you at 400 pounds.   Not a healthy weight . . . for a person or a regulatory system.

Talk and no Walk

Section 2 of HB 1290, that does apply to TCEQ, requires words but no action.  Section 2 requires the preparation of a “Government Growth Impact Statement”.  I have not seen much significant improvements come from these kind of analyses at the back of rulemaking (i.e. the “Local Employment Impact Statement”, “Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Analysis”, “Regulatory Impact Analysis”, “Consistency with the Coastal Management Program Analysis”, etc.).  Mostly they seem to be done after the fact and more “rubber stamp-ish”.

A true and real program of self-discipline is needed if we intend to simplify the environmental regulatory system in Texas.  If we truly want to stop “hitting the bottle” when it comes to regulations, we need to do more than just implement legislative text that essentially asks TCEQ to tell the public how many drinks they had after a hard night of drinking.  That’s not going to get us to regulatory sobriety.  We need a hard program of self-discipline that requires “walk” and not just “talk”.  That’s what my petition for rulemaking is about.  The TCEQ can still implement this petition—or perhaps implement something even better.  But we can’t keep just drinking and talking about drinking.  Must have a program of simplicity.  Can’t just require words.  Must require action.

Austin American Statesman Article on my Commissioner Candidacy

The Austin American Statesman article on June 7th accurately pointed out my audacity to “run” for TCEQ Commissioner.  I’m tired of watching “crawling” toward a simpler system.   Someone needs to run.  I run.  I also wanted to create a platform rather than it just being about me.  We don’t need a Commissioner.  We need a Commissioned.  A person commissioned to lead us toward regulatory simplification.  That’s what this is about.

One last point, the Austin Statesman appears to deride me for invoking the word “love” in my petition.  Love is what I think everything should ultimately be about on this earth—even if I am mistaken about what that is in a particular context.  The word is not embarrassing to me.  Granted a TCEQ petition is not the time to go into an exegesis on love, but I fail to see how invoking love is a bad thing when we are talking about what the future of the Texas environmental regulatory system should look like.  The problem in the world in my opinion is not improper invocation or too much invocation of love, but not enough.

Time for a new beginning.

More running.  More simplicity.  More love.

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