Homeland Security and the TCEQ
The TCEQ has regulatory authority over several of the federal and state identified critical infrastructures and key resources (CI/KR), including water supply systems, wastewater treatment plants, chemical plants, low level radioactive waste, refineries, and dams.
The TCEQ is a member of the Texas Homeland Security Council and the Texas Emergency Management Council. As a member of these councils, we play a role in the prevention, protection, response and recovery efforts related to our agency’s mission.
The TCEQ Homeland Security Program is charged to:
- detect and prevent threats to security;
- respond to and assist in recovery from disasters and emergencies, both natural and man-made; and
- coordinate communications and homeland security efforts among state, local, and federal response partner agencies in Texas.
These three objectives are set by the Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan, compatible with the National Response Framework, and build upon the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Emergency Planning in Texas uses an all-hazards approach, based on state law and the fact that most of the functions performed during emergency situations are not hazard specific, but rather are required to carry out basic emergency functions that may have to be executed whether an incident is caused by a natural or a man-made hazard such as terrorism.
Detection and Prevention
The TCEQ investigates and assembles evidence on environmental crimes. The TCEQ may also be able to provide physical security information and occasionally resources to law enforcement partners and intelligence organizations upon their request to assist in their investigations. Currently, through coordination with other state and federal agencies, the TCEQ is continuing to expand its efforts in sharing appropriate threat information with its regulated facilities.
Response and Recovery
The TCEQ is the lead state agency for events involving hazardous materials, air quality and water, including public drinking water systems. The TCEQ’s role in incident response is described in the State of Texas Emergency Management Plan. The TCEQ is also identified as a support agency in a number of Annexes to the State Plan, including those dealing with terrorism, health, and radiological materials. The TCEQ provides resource and assets to rapidly respond to emergencies, assess the extent of public exposure to hazardous materials, and contain and remediate contamination as necessary.
The TCEQ maintains constant communications with the public and regulated community in prevention, protection, response and recovery efforts in anticipated, during or after the natural or man-made disaster. The TCEQ has the ability to provide an interoperable communication platform during an emergency. The agency also maintains plans to ensure that communications will be sustained during or after a disaster.