(a) Need for agreement. Texas Health and Safety Code, §382.0365(e) directs the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Texas Department of Commerce (TDOC) to coordinate assistance to any small business applying for permits from the commission. Texas Government Code, §481.028(b)(6) directs the TDOC to develop an MOU with the TNRCC to cooperate in program planning and budgeting regarding small business finance and permits, the marketing of recyclable products, and business permits. (b) Responsibilities. (1) The TNRCC: (A) is the agency of the state given primary responsibility for implementing the Constitution and laws of this state relating to the conservation of natural resources and the protection of the environment; (B) sets standards, criteria, levels, and limits for pollution to protect the air and water
quality of the state's natural resources and the health and safety of the state's citizens; (C) protects the air, land, and water resources through the development, implementation, and enforcement of control programs as necessary to satisfy all federal and state environmental laws and regulations; (D) maintains a Small Business Assistance Program as defined in Texas Health and Safety Code, §382.0365; (E) establishes programs designed to encourage Texas businesses to reduce, reuse, and recycle industrial and hazardous wastes; and (F) has the powers and duties specifically prescribed and other powers necessary or convenient to carry out these and other responsibilities. (2) The TDOC: (A) is the state agency designated to promote economic development and tourism and provide business services for small business owners; (B) serves as an
information center and referral agency for information on various state and federal programs affecting small businesses, including local governments, local economic development organizations, and small business development centers to promote business development in the state; (C) supports small business ownership and development for the state; (D) collects, publishes, and disseminates information useful to small businesses, including data on employment and business activities and trends; and (E) has the powers and duties specifically prescribed and other powers necessary or convenient to carry out these and other responsibilities. (c) Activities. (1) The TNRCC will, in a timely manner: (A) refer small business owners to the TDOC for information on financial and loan assistance; business licenses, permits, registrations; or certificates necessary to operate a place of
business in Texas; (B) provide the TDOC with information regarding environmental permitting processes, registration timelines, fee schedules, reporting requirements, pollution prevention techniques; as well as scheduled workshops, seminars, and conferences that educate small businesses on environmental concerns; (C) provide speakers and educational materials, as requested and subject to staff availability, for seminars, conferences, and workshops sponsored by the TDOC; (D) maintain current information supplied by the TDOC on financial and loan assistance; business licenses, permits, registrations; or certificates necessary to operate a place of business in Texas; (E) research the requirements and costs of pollution control equipment and environmental audits needed by small businesses for compliance with environmental regulations; (F) train TDOC staff, as requested and subject to staff
availability, on environmental regulations, environmental management techniques, and pollution prevention and recycling practices that apply to small businesses; (G) share information with the TDOC to ensure non-duplication of agency efforts; (H) provide the necessary permit applications and forms to the TDOC, upon request, so that the TDOC may complete a comprehensive application request by a business; and (I) analyze and evaluate alternatives for improving permit processes within the TNRCC, and submit jointly with the TDOC any report required by Texas Government Code, §481.129. (2) The TDOC will, in a timely manner: (A) refer small business owners and prospective owners to the TNRCC Small Business Assistance Program for help with environmental permitting, registration, compliance, and reporting requirements and pollution prevention techniques; (B) provide
information to the TNRCC regarding information on financial and loan assistance; business licenses, permits, registrations; or certificates necessary to operate a place of business in Texas; (C) provide speakers and educational materials, as requested and subject to staff availability, for seminars, conferences, and workshops sponsored by the TNRCC; (D) maintain current information supplied by the TNRCC on the application process and timelines for environmental permits, registrations, certifications, or other general environmental compliance information needed to operate a place of business in Texas; (E) incorporate the TNRCC information concerning businesses' rights, obligations, and requirements under environmental regulations into the general material distributed by the TDOC to people establishing business operations in Texas; (F) identify and provide information to the TNRCC on financial
assistance programs that make loans to small businesses for the purchase of new equipment or process upgrades necessary to operate in compliance with environmental regulations; (G) serve as a point of contact, when requested, between the TNRCC and the Small Business Administration, Farmers Home Administration, the Small Business Development Centers, the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Centers, Community Development Corporations, and other business and financial assistance programs; (H) maintain the information produced by the TNRCC about the impacts of environmental regulations on the state's economy and small business community; (I) share information with the TNRCC to ensure non-duplication of agency efforts; and (J) analyze and evaluate alternatives for improving permit processes within the TNRCC, and submit jointly with the TNRCC any report required by Texas Government Code, §481.129.
(d) Review of MOU. This memorandum shall terminate August 31, 1999, unless extended by mutual agreement. The TNRCC and the TDOC by rule shall adopt the memorandum and all revisions to the memorandum.
Source Note: The provisions of this §7.101 adopted to be effective August 5, 1996, 21 TexReg 6896.