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Texas Senate
May 20, 2002
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Public Utilities Commission Public Interest Counsel Examined At Legislative Hearing

The Joint Committee on Natural Resources Public Interest Counsel held its second meeting today, Monday, May 20, 2002. The committee is examining the office of Public Interest Counsel at the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC), specifically whether it should be able to appeal TNRCC decisions and what resources it needs to do its job.

Today, the committee heard public testimony. Timothy Delaney, former mayor of Bayside, Texas, told the committee that the office had hindered his city's efforts to build a wastewater treatment plant. He also said that the office refused in their case to listen to both sides of the issue. Blas Coy from the counsel's office disagreed, saying they were ready to work with anyone who called. Other witnesses reported how the office handled appeals of TNRCC decisions.

The committee will be issuing a report to the 78th Legislature regarding the office, how it operates, and they may recommend changes that they feel may be necessary.

The committee is chaired by Senator J.E. "Buster" Brown and State Representative Fred Bosse. Members include Senators Gonzalo Barrientos, David Bernsen, Chris Harris, and Leticia Van de Putte, along with Representatives Warren Chisum, Dawanna Dukes, Robert Puente and D.R. "Tom" Uher. The committee recessed subject to call of the chair with its next meeting to be announced at a later date.

Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.