2018 TMRA Government Affairs Committee Report: By Mance Zachary, Vistra Energy, TMRA Gov’t Affairs Comm. Chairman
2018 TMRA Government Affairs Committee Report
By Mance Zachary, Vistra Energy, TMRA Gov’t Affairs Comm. Chairman
As we prepare for the next legislative session the TMRA Government Affairs committee is cultivating and providing industry education to seasoned and new member relationships. Also, we are working in concert with the TMRA Board of Directors on the end of session Sine Die party. As we look forward, we have to look at some highlights from 2018. The new Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee is Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury). In August 2018 TCEQ Chairman Dr. Bryan Shaw retired and Emily Lindley was appointed as a new TCEQ Commissioner. A former TCEQ Commissioner (Toby Baker) is that agency’s new Executive Director. The Regional Haze Rule was put in the Federal Register on August 27th and a replacement for the Clean Power Plan was proposed. The post-election numbers reflect the Senate will have 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. The House will have 83 Republican and 67 Democrats. Ballots on a recount are still being calculated in one election. There will be a new Speaker of the House and after months of speculation the presumptive Speaker-Elect is Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton).
The TMRA Government Affairs Committee nominated Sen. Brian Birdwell and Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) as TMRA’s Legislators of the Year. Both attended the TMRA’s awards ceremony during the annual meeting in October. Also, TMRA hosted Assistant Secretary of the Interior Joe Balash and Railroad Commission of Texas staffers at the TMRA Annual meeting and Luminant Kosse Mine tour.
Next, the Government Affairs Committee began preparing for the May 27th Sine Die party by working to assure no “side bar” parties will dilute the sponsors for TMRA’s event. We made initial outreach to potential sponsors of the Sine Die party October. A follow-up letter to these contacts with available sponsorship levels will take place by year-end 2018. The goal of these activities is to get early budget commitments from these entities and continue the appeals during the legislative session.
Lastly, as we prepare for the legislative session TMRA Government Affairs will work with our trade partners to monitor, track, propose, edit, and eliminate bills that impact TMRA members. Regulatory certainty with agencies of jurisdiction and the legislature will be our primary focus. Some bills that have been pre-filed already reflect the need for member education pertaining to our industry and our team will be on the forefront of this effort. During the recent Board of Directors meeting specific legislative desires of the lignite/uranium mining and aggregate minerals teams was requested. Our team will address those teams’ goals and incorporate them TMRA’s legislative plan as they are received.