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Summary: Private companies that hope to drill and mine for uranium must go through a very extensive permitting process. The initial "Large Base Area Permit" is very hard to obtain. Once the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issues the permit, that permit is still subject to a contested case hearing which could delay the process by several years. Even if the Large Base Area Permit does not get contested, every additional permit for the project (of which there are many) is also subject to contested case hearings. HB 1079 would make only the Large Base Area Permit subject to a contested case hearing. The rest of the minor permits would still go through the same process and scrutiny as they do under current law, but after issuance they would not be subject to more hearings.
Analysis: HB 1079 removes burdensome regulations. If a permit is subject to a contested case hearing, it can set a project back for years. Once TCEQ issues the permit, a business should not have to worry that another hearing in front of another government agency is going to delay business further. The first and most important permit, the Large Base Area Permit, would still be subject to a contested case hearing, but the subsequent permits for that location would not be once they are issued. HB 1079 limits government and supports free market principles. We support HB 1079.