Texas State Auditor's Office
An Audit Report on Permitting and Enforcement Functions at the Commission on Environmental Quality
Report Number 04-016
For the air, water quality, and public water supply programs we evaluated, the Commission on Environmental Quality's (Commission) enforcement function does not consistently:
If unaddressed, these inconsistencies could limit the Commission's ability to collect penalties on a timely basis, hold environmental violators accountable, and deter future instances of noncompliance.
The Commission's permitting function for these programs generally operates in accordance with state statute and agency policy, although we noted some areas for improvement in the availability of information used for permitting. In addition, while the Commission complies with federal law regarding notification about pending air permits, the Commission's current process can reduce the effective public comment period to less than the federally required 30 days.
Finally, we noted that the Commission's recent changes to its penalty policies may reduce their effectiveness as a deterrent to polluters. We also found that current statutes related to air emissions caps and policies for discounted fees could be modified to increase agency revenue by approximately $25 million per year.
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