House Representative

Zwiener, Erin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/03/2019

Rep. Zwiener’s First Bill Passes House

Bill Address the Pollutant Discharge Permit Process

Austin, TX — State Representative Erin Zwiener’s (Driftwood) first bill passed the Texas House of Representatives on Thursday with 82 members voting in support. House Bill 4116 would create a voluntary financial assurance program for discharge permits administered by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Inspired by a contentious, multi-year conflict regarding Dripping Springs’s wastewater facility expansion and discharge permit, HB 4116 seeks to allow affected parties and permit applicants an avenue for compromise, flexibility, and public buy-in during discharge permit conflicts.

“This bill would establish a new way forward in the discharge permitting process,” Rep. Zwiener said. “We’re seeking to create an avenue for upfront, voluntary negotiation between applicants and interest groups. It’s a commonsense piece of legislation that will help cities and communities avoid bureaucratic headaches and costly setbacks as well as encourage more beneficial reuse of water. In passing this bill, we will help provide a model for future collaborative efforts around environmental permitting.”

House Bill 4116, would allow a permit applicant to voluntarily negotiate an agreement upfront with interest groups if they believe it will help them avoid a contested case. This agreement would include more stringent limitations than the TCEQ permit and would be backed up with bonding, a letter of credit, or an escrow account. Senator Dawn Buckingham will be picking the bill up in the Senate.

Contact: Graham Senor