TCEQ Issues Guidance for Submitting Enforcement Discretion Requests During COVID-19 Pandemic
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) yesterday issued guidance (below) for submitting enforcement discretion requests during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this guidance, Ramiro Garcia, TCEQ’s Deputy Director of the Office of Compliance & Enforcement (OCE), encourages all regulated entities “to take all available actions necessary to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and permit requirements to protect the health and safety of Texans and the environment.” The guidance indicates that if, despite such efforts, regulated entities are concerned about compliance due to a reduced workforce, they may submit enforcement discretion requests to TCEQ if noncompliance is unavoidable directly due to impact from the coronavirus.
TCEQ invited affected regulated entities to email both OCE@tceq.texas.gov and Ramiro.Garcia@tceq.texas.gov with specific information related to enforcement discretion requests. “The email should at a minimum include the following:
Concise statement supporting request for enforcement discretion
Anticipated duration of need for enforcement discretion
Citation of rule / permit provision for which enforcement discretion is requested
Regulated entities must maintain records adequate to document activities related to the noncompliance under enforcement discretion, including details of the regulated entity’s best efforts to comply.”
The TCEQ guidance indicates that staff monitoring the OCE email box will ensure the requests are expeditiously addressed, with a goal of responding within 24 to 48 hours of receiving the request.