AUSTIN (AP) — A citizen's right to challenge a permit granted to a polluter could be severely limited by a bill approved by the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
Senators voted Tuesday and now the bill will go to the full Senate for consideration. The proposed law by Republican Sen. Troy Fraser would limit what is called the contested case hearing process.
Under current law, a citizen can challenge a permit the state grants to landfills, hazardous waste facilities and power plants. Residents have used the process to insist on tougher pollution standards in their communities.
Fraser's bill would drastically change the hearing process to limit the evidence allowed and eliminate live testimony and questioning. Supporters say it will help businesses hampered by environmental claims, while opponents say it will hurt local residents.
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