Bill Detail: HB23-1294

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Title Pollution Protection Measures
Status Governor Signed (06/06/2023)
Bill Subjects
  • Natural Resources & Environment
House Sponsors J. Bacon (D)
J. Willford (D)
Senate Sponsors F. Winter (D)
J. Gonzales (D)
House Committee Energy and Environment
Senate Committee Transportation and Energy
Date Introduced 04/13/2023

Section 2 of the bill removes the requirement that the air quality
control commission (AQCC) promulgate rules setting the conditions and
limitations for periods of start-up, shutdown, or malfunction of a source
of air pollution (source) that justify temporary relief from an emission
control regulation.
Current law provides that a person shall not permit the emission
of air pollutants at a nonresidential structure unless an air pollution
emission notice has been filed with the division of administration in the
department of public health and environment (division). Section 5 adds
the requirements that any:
  • Relevant permits have been approved by the division; and
  • Applicable period of review by the federal environmental
protection agency has been completed.
Section 6 removes the prohibition against the AQCC adopting
rules covering indirect sources that are more stringent than applicable
federal law.
Section 6 also requires the division, in evaluating a construction
permit application for a source that includes new oil and gas operations,
  • Aggregate emissions from a proposed or modified oil and
gas system; and
  • Consider emissions from exploration and preproduction
activities if a proposed or modified oil and gas system is in
an ozone nonattainment area and if the activities will be
conducted beginning May 1 and ending August 31 of any
year (ozone season).
Section 8 clarifies that only the filing of a renewable operating
permit application can operate as a defense to an enforcement action for
operating without a permit during the time period that the division or the
AQCC is reviewing the permit application.
Current law requires the division or the AQCC to give public
notice of certain construction permit applications or renewable operating
permit applications and of certain public hearings through a newspaper
publication or another method that ensures effective public notice.
Current law also requires the division to maintain a copy of a construction
permit application and applicable preliminary analysis or a notice of
public hearing with the county clerk and recorder of the county where the
applicable project is located. Section 8 also removes the newspaper
publication option and the county clerk and recorder filing requirements
and provides for alternative methods of giving public notice, including
posting information about the application or any public hearings on the
division's or the AQCC's website.
Current law requires the division or AQCC to make a finding that
a source or activity will meet all applicable emission control regulations,
including ambient air quality standards (AAQS), before granting a permit
for the source or activity. Section 8 also requires that, beginning January
1, 2024, for at least any source or activity that has the potential to emit
levels of air contaminants above certain modeling thresholds, the division
or AQCC must base any finding that the source or activity will not cause
or contribute to an exceedance of applicable AAQS on air quality
Section 8 also allows the division, after an investigation into
whether an activity meets the requirements of a construction permit, to
propose additional terms and conditions of the construction permit.
With respect to a complaint alleging or the division's own belief
regarding a violation or noncompliance (violation), section 9 requires the
division to:
  • Cause a diligent investigation into the violation to be made
unless the complaint clearly appears to be frivolous or
trivial or the complainant withdraws the complaint;
  • Notify the owner or operator of the applicable air pollution
source of the complaint or the division's belief of an
alleged violation within 30 days after the complaint was
filed or the division discovered the alleged violation;
  • Consider all relevant evidence that it acquires when
investigating the alleged violation; and
  • Determine whether a violation occurred within 90 days
after the division gives notice that it has commenced an
investigation on the matter.
If the division determines that a violation has occurred, current law
requires the division to issue a compliance order unless the responsible
party gives timely notice that the violation occurred during a period of
start-up, shutdown, or malfunction. Section 9 removes the exception for
periods of start-up, shutdown, or malfunction.
Section 9 also requires, if a hearing is requested after the receipt
of a compliance order, the commission to provide at least 45 days' notice
to any complainant that submitted a complaint alleging the applicable
Section 9 also allows a complainant to submit a request for a
hearing within 20 calendar days after receipt of a determination by the
division that no violation occurred.
Current law provides that any noncompliance that occurs during
a period of start-up, shutdown, or malfunction exempts the owner or
operator of a source from the duty to pay penalties related to that
noncompliance. Section 9 removes this provision.
Section 9 also allows a person, with respect to certain clean air
regulations, to commence a civil action (action) against an alleged
violator for a current or past violation of the regulation. A person shall
not commence an action until at least 60 days after a notice has been
provided to the executive director of the department, the director of the
division, and the alleged violator. Except for violations of an ongoing or
recurring nature, any action that is not commenced within 5 years after
the discovery of the alleged violation is time barred.
Current law requires the division to consider certain factors in
determining the amount of a civil penalty to assess for a violation.
Section 10 requires the division to also consider the impact of the
violation on safety and wildlife and biological resources and the severity
of the violation.
Current law provides that any action related to an alleged violation
of air quality laws that is not commenced within 5 years after the
occurrence of the alleged violation is time barred. Section 11 excludes
actions commenced to address a failure to obtain a permit from this
statute of limitation.
Section 12 creates new electrification requirements and emissions
standards for stationary engines used in oil and gas operations.
Section 13 creates new control measures that must be included in
any state implementation plan for ozone adopted by the AQCC until a
serious, severe, or extreme ozone nonattainment area in the state is
redesignated as a maintenance area by the federal environmental
protection agency.
Section 15 requires the district court, in a suit against a person that
has violated a state law, rule, or order related to oil and gas, to award the
initial complaining party any costs of litigation incurred by the initial
complaining party if the court determines that the award is appropriate.
Section 16 allows any person to submit a complaint to the oil and
gas conservation commission (COGCC) alleging a violation of a state
law, rule, or order related to oil and gas. Upon receipt of the complaint,
the COGCC or the director of the COGCC is required to promptly
commence and complete an investigation into the violation alleged by the
complaint, unless the complaint clearly appears on its face to be trivial or
the complainant withdraws the complaint.
Section 17 requires the COGCC to evaluate and address adverse
cumulative impacts on the environment and disproportionately impacted
communities for each permit application for a new or substantially
modified oil and gas location through a cumulative impact analysis.

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