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If passed, SB 394 would amend the water code in such a way that first time offenders (local governments) of a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulation would be permitted to apply their penalty towards a supplemental environmental project (SEP) which would bring them into compliance. Compliance is understood as remediation of environmental harm (as defined by the TCEQ) or adherence to current environmental laws.
SB 394, if passed would allow local governments more flexibility in dealing with violations brought to their attention by the TCEQ. Notably, this mechanism applies only to first time offenses. SB 394 is a prudent mechanism which would allow local governments to address issues with the TCEQ without merely having to pay fines to the state government. Without this mechanism penalty costs borne by local taxpayers would be less likely to be utilized in their own area for their own benefit. For this reason we are in support of SB 394.