A Snapshot of Environmental Bills Filed During Texas’ 2021 Legislative Session (87R) | Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

The 87th Legislative Session’s filing deadline of March 12, 2021 has come and gone, giving us an opportunity to survey the full suite of environmental bills – air, water, waste, procedural – that will be considered, debated, and voted upon by state lawmakers by the end of June. 


Aggregates and Associated Industries

  • House Bill 4341 (Biedermann): would create an aggregate production operation program at the Texas Railroad Commission, thereby transferring certain duties from the TCEQ; if passed into law, the act would take effect upon the date the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delegates permitting authority to the Railroad Commission.

  • House Bill 4478 (Huberty): would require aggregate production operations located within 1500 feet of the San Jacinto River to develop restoration and reclamation plans; establishes an aggregate production operation and reclamation fund account in the general revenue fund, which may be appropriated exclusively to the TCEQ for reclamation and restoration.

  • House Bill 1912 (Wilson) (companion Senate Bill 1209 (Schwertner)) (referred to House Environmental Regulation Committee on March 15): would expand requirements for public hearings and meetings regarding the issuance of standard air permits for aggregate production operations and concrete batch plants to include other jurisdictional entities (e.g., TxDOT, groundwater conservation districts, and municipalities and counties);would require permits for noise, light, vibration, and air quality monitors; would require regulated facilities to provide the TCEQ with a post-operation closure plan and financial assurance. 

  • House Bill 291 (Murr) (referred to House Environmental Regulation Committee on February 25): would impose reclamation requirements and reclamation bonds for registered aggregate production operations that occupy sites at least 10 acres and are located inside the boundaries or extraterritorial jurisdiction of a municipality; would provide an opportunity for a municipality to waive reclamation requirements if the reclamation activities required by the reclamation plan conflict with a potential reasonable future use of the operation upon cessation of activities

  • House Bill 289 (Collier) (referred to House Environmental Regulation Committee on February 25): would expand the classes of persons who may request a public hearing from the TCEQ regarding the construction of a concrete batch plant to include a representative of a school, place of worship, licensed day-care center, hospital, or medical facility or a person residing within 880 yards of the proposed plant.

Environmental Justice

  • Senate Bill 1294 (Eckhardt) (companion House Bill 1191 (Goodwin)) (referred to Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee on March 18): would establish an Office of Environmental Justice that would provide recommendations to the TCEQ in determining whether to issue a permit for a facility located within three miles of an “environmental justice community.”

  • Senate Bill 365 (Miles) (referred to Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee on March 9): would require permit applicants for a facility located in an “environmental justice community” to file certain reports and certifications with the TCEQ related to environmental justice issues and facilitate public participation in the permitting process.

  • Senate Bill 1304 (Blanco) (companion House Bill 3858 (Ordaz)) (referred to Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee on March 18): would create a duty for the TCEQ to respond to any inquiry in the language in which it was received and expand the types of notices subject to alternative language requirements, but would require the applicant to pay all costs associated with translation of the notices.

Emissions Events

  • House Bill 2369 (Morales Shaw) (referred to House Environmental Regulation Committee on March 15): would require the TCEQ to adopt rules for staggered shutdowns of regulated entities in advance of a potential weather-related disaster.

  • Senate Bill 684 (Blanco) (referred to Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee on March 11): would eliminate affirmative defenses for excessive emissions events.

Water Quality

  • House Bill 242 (Zweiner) (referred to House Environmental Regulation on February 25): would authorize the RRC to require the owner or operator of a facility used in connection with the exploration, development, or production of oil, gas, or geothermal resources to submit a water pollution abatement plan to the RRC if the facility is located in the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.

Gulf Coast Restoration

  • Senate Bill 1160 (Taylor) (companion House Bill 3029 (Paul)) (reported favorably as substituted by the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs): would create an entity to manage the projects identified in the Coastal Texas and Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay studies led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office that would address the increasing frequency and intensity of storm surge flooding along the Gulf Coast (e.g., coastal barriers, seawalls, and storm surge gates). 

Municipal and Solid Waste

  • House Bill 631 (Darby) (left pending in House Environmental Regulation on March 15): would limit local government regulation of municipal solid waste (“MSW”) facilities and prohibits local governments from adopting rules and ordinances that are inconsistent with the TCEQ’s rules for MSW and hazardous waste facilities.

  • House Bill 753 (Cain) (left pending in House Environmental Regulation on March 22): would limit the amount a municipality could charge solid waste management service operators to two percent of the gross receipts of the franchisee for the sale of services in the municipality; would prohibit a municipality from restricting the right of an entity to contract with a person other than the municipality or an exclusive franchisee of the municipality to provide solid waste management services.

  • House Bill 176 (Zweiner) (referred to House Environmental Regulation on February 25): would repeal a statutory prohibition on local government regulation of the use of small-use plastic containers and packages, thereby overruling the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in City of Laredo v. Laredo Merchants Association,  550 S.W.3d 586 (Tex. 2018).

The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (“TERP”)

  • Senate Joint Resolution 52 (Birdwell) (referred to Natural Resources & Economic Development on March 18): proposes a constitutional amendment to fully implement the TERP Trust Fund, which was established last session to provide a stable source of revenue for TERP based on surcharges and the direct transfer of state highway funds starting September 1, 2021.


  • House Bill 860 (Collier) (referred to House Environmental Regulation on March 1): would prevent a permit applicant from requesting a change to the application after the 31st day before the date scheduled for the preliminary hearing on the application; requires the applicant to withdraw the application if he chooses not to proceed with the preliminary hearing on or before the 31st day before the date scheduled for the hearing.

  • House Bill 968 (Dutton) (referred to House Environmental Regulation on March 1): would require the executive director of the TCEQ to file a response to each public comment on a preliminary decision, rather than only “relevant and material” comments.

Only a few of these bills have received a committee hearing, but that will change over the coming weeks. Given the relatively late-start for all but the budget committees, observers can expect the session’s pace to accelerate. We will continue to monitor and report on the status of these bills through the remainder of the session.

[View source.]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *