Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Start Date for Suspension
End Date for Suspension
Public Information Attorney
Severe winter storms beginning on Tuesday, January 31st caused a historic icing event that necessitated the closure of numerous TCEQ offices. Starting on January 31st, TCEQ headquarters staff were advised to work remotely. On Wednesday, February 1st, numerous key PIA staff began experiencing power outages at their homes. Additionally, TCEQ began experiencing agency-wide technical issues with its virtual private network (VPN) beginning on February 1st. Access to the VPN is essential to remotely access PIRCS, the database that TCEQ uses to process Public Information Act requests, as well as Sharepoint, which TCEQ staff use to send responsive documents to each other and requestors. The closure of headquarters, power outages, and VPN connectivity issues qualify TCEQ for a suspension period per Tex. Gov. Code Sec. 552.2325(a)(1)(B), as this power failure and interruption of communication facilities are catastrophes that directly interfere with TCEQ's ability to comply with its PIA obligations. TCEQ staff is unable to access, both physically and electronically, the information necessary to process PIA requests. These conditions are ongoing as of now, with no foreseeable resolution at this time.