Environmental Advocates Petition EPA to Improve Water Pollution Control in Texas

Eric Allmon Environmental News, Firm News, Water Pollution

A group of 21 organizations, represented by Perales, Allmon & Ice, P.C., Earthjustice, and Environmental Integrity Project, have petitioned the EPA to require correction of problems in Texas’ water quality permitting program, or take over the program if Texas does not fix the problems itself.

In the 23 years since EPA delegated the authority to Texas to administer the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), the petitioners say that State’s environmental agency, TCEQ, has completely mismanaged the job and allowed for serious degradation of the State’s waterways.

Among the issues highlighted by the petitioners is TCEQ’s lack of an effective “anti-degradation policy” and inappropriate use of the ”de minimis” exemption.

The petitioners allege that Texas has consistently failed to require that polluters document the economic or social necessity of projects that harm downstream water quality and demonstrate that there are no viable alternatives that would avoid pollution of the waters. In addition, the petition alleges that Texas is improperly barring court challenges of bad water pollution permits from people who use waterways for recreational purposes, such as fishing or kayaking, but do not own land nearby.

The petition asks EPA to require Texas to correct these deficiencies as required under the Clean Water Act.  Should Texas fail to implement these corrective actions, the petition asks EPA to take over the State’s program and fix the problems itself.

The petitioners are represented by Perales, Allmon, & Ice, P.C., Earthjustice*, and Environmental Integrity Project. The 22 organizations represented include:

*Perales, Allmon & Ice represents all Petitioners with the exception of Hillcrest Residents Association. Earthjustice represents Hillcrest Residents Association for purposes of this Petition.

If you are interested in reading more coverage of the “de-delegation” petition, please see the links to other articles below:

KRIS-6 News Corpus Christi – Environmental groups petition EPA over TCEQ permitting

San Antonio Express – Environmental groups ask EPA to strip Texas officials of water pollution control

In response to the Petition, the EPA has launched an informal investigation into the deficiencies outlined. You may view and download that letter below the petition.

You can read the petition below, or download it from this link.