The original Texas Clean Air Act ("TCAA") was enacted in 1965, and had as its purpose the safeguarding of state air resources and protection of the health, general welfare and physical property of the people. The Texas Air Control Board was then assigned to carry out these mandates.
In the 1970’s, with the enactment of the Federal Clean Air Act (and its amendments), the scope of the Texas Act broadened and began to mirror many aspects of the federal regulations. In 1993 the Texas Air Control Board and the Texas Water Commission consolidated into the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, now named the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and since that time this agency has maintained the primary authority for the enforcement of air quality regulations.
Air Pollution Laws and Major Provisions
The TCAA is found in Chapter 382 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and is divided into seven subchapters. Subchapter A carries a number of general provisions including definitions. These definitions (and the case law interpreting such definitions) are vital to any effective enforcement actions by the County.
Subchapter B establishes the general powers, duties and authority of the TCEQ pertaining to air quality regulation, including: the power to enter property to conduct investigations; the power to require sources to monitor emissions and keep records; the authority to adopt rules; the authority to issue orders; the authority to conduct hearings; and the major provisions addressing specific air pollution issues. Subchapter C establishes the permitting process that includes new source review and operating permits.
Subchapter D delineates the general prohibition against unauthorized emissions, and provides the mechanism for involvement by local governments in the air enforcement process. Subchapter E prescribes the authority of local government in air quality regulation. Subchapter G addresses specifics regarding vehicle emissions. Subchapter H outlines the obligations under the Early Action Compact
Key Air Pollution Definitions