The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has introduced a temporary program called the Find It and Fix It Initiative for owners/operators within the 61 counties comprising the Permian Basin. The program incentivizes owners/operators to evaluate their operations and current air authorizations to ensure any future incidents of excess emissions are properly reported. The TCEQ has reported a substantive increase in emission events (EEs) reported in the Permian Basin.
With a quickly approaching enrollment deadline of January 31, 2021, this voluntary program offers owners and operators the potential opportunity for enforcement discretion. See the monthly TCEQ Enforcement report here to stay updated on recent investigations, corresponding notices of violation (NOVs), effective orders and assessed penalties.
The TCEQ has identified potential operators and sites that have classified EEs that do not meet the requirements of EEs and therefore are not protected under affirmative defense for EEs. If an activity and the resulting emissions are routine, planned or predictable, then the emissions would not qualify as excess emissions and are to be authorized through the TCEQ's permitting program.
The notification of intent has a deadline of January 31st, and within 30 days of the notification, the participant must submit a compliance plan. The participant must demonstrate compliance for all sites under the program within 180 days of the initial notification to participate.
If more time is needed to achieve compliance, a company may request to enter into a Permian Basin Compliance Agreement, which would establish deadlines to achieve compliance without resulting in the imposition of enforcement for these activities. This program does not limit review of other components of the permitted authorization.
The TCEQ has noted that companies have the option to participate in either the Find It and Fix It program or the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act (Self Audit Act), but not both. Like the Self Audit Act, the Find It and Fix It Initiative requires advanced notice to qualify for the program. However, Find It and Fix It only applies to statutes under the jurisdiction of the TCEQ whereas the Audit Act would fall under both the TCEQ’s and Texas Railroad Commission’s (TRC) jurisdiction. Owners and operators should work with consultants to determine which is best suited to their compliance reporting.
To discuss the Audit Act or the Find It and Fix It Initiative with Amerigo, reach out to us here.