Galen Scott

gscott@weatherforddemocrat.com

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced free webcasts of the state environmental agency’s meetings are now available online.

Twice-monthly TCEQ commission meetings, plus monthly work sessions, are now live and within reach for those with Internet access. Webcasts, agenda postings and archived past meetings are available at www.tceq.state.tx.us.

TCEQ oversees drinking water and water availability, as well as programs dedicated to pollution prevention and recycling.

Throughout the last year, TCEQ was involved in a variety of Parker County environmental issues.

Within the last year, TCEQ officials investigated a drinking water quality issue near Aledo, responded to soil contamination claims at a residence on Mineral Wells Highway and witnessed pollution control efforts at a Brazos River quarry operation.

The agency’s Dallas/Ft. Worth office is responsible for 19 North Texas Counties.

Online watchers say the live webcast presents a unique opportunity for transparency in government.

“We are proud to be the first agency in Texas to offer citizens the ability to watch our meetings live via webcast, and at no cost to them or Texas taxpayers,” said TCEQ Commissioner Larry Soward. “This means it will be easier for people to track issues they are interested in and to follow cases they may be involved in, and it will foster open government.”

A company called TexasAdmin.com has actually been offering webcast versions of the meetings since August of 2000, but now the action is available live.

“We’re seeing here the continued expansion of the power of the Internet to allow government to interact more personally with its constituents,” said Alan Ervin, a founder of TexasAdmin.com. “We believe the system of PBS-like sponsorships we’re establishing will support the cost of the webcast.”

In addition to the live webcasts, TexasAdmin.com in the future may webcast other TCEQ meetings, such as major stakeholder and advisory committee meetings.

According to TexasAdmin.com, coverage of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists and the Public Utility Commission of Texas is also available.

This Week's Circulars