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RULE §20.44Public Participation

(a) Public notice, review and comment. Public notice means the state trustees are advising the public about proposed actions. Public review and comment means the public has an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed state trustee actions.

(b) Notice of State Trustee Action. The state trustees shall give public notice through the use of the Texas Register and at least one newspaper of general circulation serving the impacted area. The state trustees shall provide for a period of public review and comment of at least 30 days whenever public review and comment is required in this section. The state trustees shall not execute any documents which relieve a responsible person from liability for damages resulting from injury to natural resources until the public review and comment period has expired.

(c) Public review and comment. The state trustees shall provide the public with the opportunity for review and comment when they select assessment procedures and protocols for a negotiated, expedited or comprehensive assessment. The state trustees shall provide the public with the opportunity for review and comment when a restoration plan is proposed and prior to the certification of completion of a restoration plan.

(d) Public participation in equivalent resource plans. The state trustees shall invite members of the public from the area encompassed by an equivalent resource plan to participate in the development and design of the plan. When an equivalent resource plan is proposed for adoption by the state trustees, the commissioner, in conjunction with the trustees, shall conduct, upon the request of any member of the public, a public hearing on the proposed plan. The public hearing shall be convened in or near the area covered by the equivalent resource plan.

(e) Public participation in assessment decisions. The state trustees may invite a member of the public to participate in determining whether an assessment of any kind is necessary. The person invited to participate shall be a member of an environmental or conservation group which is organized for preservation or enhancement of the natural resources in the area where the unauthorized discharge of oil occurred. The person may participate in the state trustee determination but shall not have any vote in any decision of the state trustees. After the state trustees have decided whether an assessment will be performed, the person's further role in the proceeding shall be at the discretion of the state trustees, who shall take into account the public's right to review and comment on state trustee actions.

Source Note: The provisions of this §20.44 adopted to be effective October 19, 1994, 19 TexReg 7911.

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