The Texas Legislature is on the verge of increasing the penalties that the state environmental agency can impose on industrial facilities that don’t comply with regulations.

The change is part of Senate Bill 1397, proposed by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, which would also ensure the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality considers a company’s compliance history for future permit authorizations and gives the public more time to weigh in on industry permits.

The measure has already been granted preliminary approval by the Senate. One more vote, usually just a formality, is needed before it heads back to the chamber for a vote on provisions and amendments added in the House and then on to the governor’s desk. Gov. Greg Abbott has not said whether he supports this legislation.

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