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May 19 2017

TCEQ Commissioners to Consider Simplifying Texas Regulatory System on June 7th

(Houston) May 19, 2017

The TCEQ Chief Clerk today set June 7th as the date that TCEQ Commissioners will decide whether to begin a concerted effort to move in the direction of simplifying the environmental regulatory system in Texas (see Agenda Item)

Staff is recommending that the agency not move in this direction of simplifying the regulatory system.  In a statement recommending denial of the petition, staff said:

“While appreciating the value of expressly including the word “written” in the rule, the executive director believes TCEQ rules are written with this goal [i.e. simplicity] in mind.”–TCEQ Staff


“I disagree”, said Jed Anderson, a candidate for TCEQ Commissioner who filed the petition.

“TCEQ rules are not simple.”

“Environmental regulations are not simple.”

“Environmental regulations are not written simply.”

approvedAnderson said that he falls in the camp of both former President Obama and former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on this.  President Obama called the air quality management system “hugely complicated and very technical”.  Gina McCarthy said, “I hate that each sector has 17 to 20 rules that govern each piece of equipment and you’ve got to be a neuroscientist to figure it out.”

“Simple is not a word I would use to describe environmental rules,” said Anderson.  The environmental regulatory system includes thousand and thousands of pages of documents.  It’s been found to be twice as complicated as the tax code.  In fact it’s been called the most complicated regulatory system in the history of the world.  Simple is not a word I would use to describe how environmental rules are written–either at the Federal level or State level,” said Anderson.

Jed 3 (2)“The complexity and size of environmental regulation needs to change.  It’s hurting not only the economy, but the environment.  EPA is moving in this direction.  TCEQ needs to as well.  I think the Commissioners realize this, know that they can usher in this watershed moment in Texas history, and will decide to move in this new direction on June 7th.  The environmental and economic benefits that will come with a concerted and systematic effort to simplify the regulatory system are mind-boggling in their potential.”

“I hope that everyone tells the TCEQ Commissioners this in the next couple weeks.”  “And I hope that everyone is there on June 7th.”

Anderson said, “At the end of the day, whether or not this succeeds or not is not my concern.  My concern is effort.  I control effort.  Whether this succeeds or not is another department.  But I do know this.  With simplicity will come better transparency.  With transparency will come better accountability.  The more simple things are, the more everyone understands them.  The more everyone understands them, the better they can comply with them.  It’s that simple.”

To view the “Petition for Rulemaking to Reduce Rulemaking“, click here.

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