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Relating to the regulation of aggregate production operations by
the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; increasing a fee;
increasing administrative penalties.
The fiscal implications to the State cannot be determined because the number of violations
that would occur under a higher maximum penalty and the penalty that would be assessed for
individual violations under the new maximum is unknown.
Owners or operators of a quarry, sand pit, gravel pit, or other aggregate production operation (APO) must register with the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ).
SB 694 would require TCEQ to inspect each active APO at least once every two years, rather than three, during the first six years in which the operation is registered, and after the expiration six years, at least once every three years. It would also authorize TCEQ to assess a penalty between $5,000 and $20,000 (rather than not more than $10,000) for each year in which an APO operates without being registered. It would prohibit the total penalty from exceeding $40,000 (rather than $25,000) for an APO that is operated in three or more years without being registered. Finally, this bill would increase the annual registration fee from $1,000 to $1,500.
Texas Action recommends opposing SB 694 because it infringes on principles of limited government and free markets. This bill would create undue burdens on the APO industry by substantially increasing penalties, registration fees, and inspections.