Henry M. Wise, P.G

May 7, 2011

Representatives Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the Uranium Resources Stewardship Act (H.R. 1452, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.01452) to manage uranium mining on federal lands through a competitive leasing program and to impose a 12.5 percent royalty on uranium. Under current law, the General Mining Act of 1872, companies do not pay royalties for minerals taken from public lands. Advocates for the bill say companies are not paying for cleanup and reclamation costs. Mining companies are opposed to any new measure that requires added fees. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) introduced similar legislation in 2009, but the bill did not advance in the Senate.


I’ve been compiling a list of proposed bills that may be of interest to geologists. If you have any that I have missed, let me know and I’ll include them. Filing of proposed bills has begun and here’s the ones I’m currently watching. All new items or updates are in bold:

HB-377, by McClendon, Relating to the expenditure of money from the general revenue fund for rail projects. 4/26/2011 – Referred to Transportation & Homeland Security. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB377

HB-444, by Creighton, Relating to notification of applications for permits for certain injection wells. “If an application is received in proper form for a permit for an injection well to dispose of industrial and municipal waste and the proposed location of the injection well is in the territory of a groundwater conservation district, the executive director shall submit a copy of the application to the governing body of the groundwater conservation district. The groundwater conservation district may make recommendations to the commission concerning any aspect of the application…” 5/9/2011 – Placed on intent calendar. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB444

HB-977, by Burnham, Relating to the development of a climate adaptation plan by certain entities. 4/29/2011 – Committee report sent to calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB977

HB-1164, by Keffer, Relating to enforcement actions by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers against political subdivisions and certain public officials. The PE Board may not impose an administrative penalty for a violation on a political subdivision, or public official or employee of the state or of a political subdivision of the state who is not licensed under this chapter. Geologists aren’t mentioned in this piece of legislation, but could eventually be. 4/27/2011 – Committee report sent to calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB1164

HB-1302, by Larson, Relating to the establishment of the Texas Energy and Communications Commission to consolidate the functions of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. 4/13/2011 – No action taken in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB1302

HB-2067, by Callegari, Relating to the regulation of the practice of engineering by individuals engaged in the evaluation of oil and gas resources. Scheduled for public hearing on 5/10/2011. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2067

HB-2268, by Hancock, Relating to compliance with state and federal environmental permits. 4/20/2011 – Left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2268

HB-2311, by Miller, Relating to exemptions from groundwater conservation district permit requirements. 4/26/2011 – Laid on the table subject to call. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2311

HB-2364, by Christian, Relating to notification of local groundwater conservation districts by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality when groundwater contamination is found. 5/6/2011 – Considered in Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2364

HB-2420, by King, Relating to exemptions from permitting by groundwater conservation districts of the drilling and operation of certain water wells. 4/18/2011 – Laid on table subject to call. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2420

HB-2480, by Geren, Relating to the licensing and regulation of geoscientists by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, the regulation and licensing of land surveyors by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners, and the abolition of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists and the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying. This bill abolishes the TBPG and places Professional Geoscientists under the jurisdiction of the TBPE. 4/5/2011 – No action taken in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2480

HB-2543, by Smith, Relating to the licensing and regulation of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, and land surveying by the Texas Board of Professional Services, the deregulation of interior design, and the abolition of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners, and the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveyors. This bill is on the watch list because it has the potential to be amended to include Professional Geoscientists. 3/15/2011 – Referred to Licensing & Administrative Procedures. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2543

HB-2657, by King, Relating to nonsubstantive additions to and corrections in enacted codes, to the nonsubstantive codification or disposition of various laws omitted from enacted codes, and to conforming codifications enacted by the 81st Legislature to other Acts of that legislature. 5/5/2011 – Laid on the table subject to call. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2657

HB-2694, by Smith, Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and abolishing the On-site Wastewater Treatment Research Council. Among other things, it transfers groundwater protection for oil and gas wells to the Texas Railroad Commission. Some people believe transferring this responsibility to the RRC is a conflict of interest for the RRC and that it should be left in the hands of the TCEQ. 5/9/2011 – Not again placed on intent calendar. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2694

HB-2939, by King, Relating to the annual reporting of groundwater use in activities related to the exploration or drilling for or production of oil or gas by owners or operators of oil and gas wells. 4/5/2011 – Left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2939

HB-2963, by Crownover, Relating to permit review timelines of the surface mining and reclamation division of the Railroad Commission of Texas. 4/18/2011 – Committee report sent to Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2963

HB-2984, by Smith, Relating to the remediation of underground storage tanks and the fee on delivery of certain petroleum products. Also extends the PST Remediation Fund date to 9/1/2018. 3/17/2011- Referred to Environmental Regulations. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB2984

HB-3066, by Burnam, Relating to regulation of air contaminant emissions from oil and gas wells. 4/20/2011 – Left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3066

HB-3106, by Keffer, Relating to the abolition of the Railroad Commission of Texas, the creation of the Texas Oil and Gas Commission, and the transfer of the powers and duties of the railroad commission to the oil and gas commission. 3/18/2011 – Referred to Energy Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3106

HB-3163, by Hancock, Relating to responsibilities of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Production Area Authorizations (for Uranium In-situ Recovery). 4/26/2011 – Committee report distributed. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3163

HB-3166, by Callegari, Relating to the abolition and consolidation of state agencies. This bill includes HB 2543 and is therefore on the watch list because it has the potential to be amended to include Professional Geoscientists. 5/2/2011 – Committee report sent to Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3166

HB-3328, by Keffer, Relating to the disclosure of the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluids used in hydraulic fracturing treatments. 5/7/2011 – Committee report sent to Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3328

HB-3460, by Crownover, Relating to the filing with the state of well logs by operators of oil-related or gas-related wells; providing a penalty. 4/6/2011 – Left pending in Committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3460

HB-3480, by Christian, Relating to the stringency of requirements imposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The TCEQ may not impose a standard or requirement to regulate an activity under the TCEQ’s jurisdiction that is more stringent than the minimum acceptable standard or requirement under the applicable federal law or a regulation adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the same activity. 3/18/2011 – Referred to Environmental Regulation. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3480

HB-3586, by Taylor, Relating to unit operations for oil, gas, or oil and gas production or carbon dioxide storage. 4/20/2011 – Left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3586

HB-3749, by Oliveira, Relating to establishing certain rights of an owner of the surface estate in land who does not own any interest in the mineral estate in the land in connection with the exploration for and production of the minerals. One of the provisions is: “The mineral interest user may not use any groundwater under or surface water on the surface tract in connection with a mineral development site or mineral development improvements without the express prior written consent of the surface tract owner.” 4/20/2011 – Left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB3749

SB-104, by Davis, Relating to restriction on the release into the air of natural gas and an associated vapors from a gas well. 1/31/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB104

SB-105, by Davis, relating to a restriction on the formation in which certain commercial disposal wells permitted by the Railroad Commission of Texas may inject oil and gas waste. “…applies only to a commercial disposal well…proposed to be located in a hydrocarbon-producing geological formation that underlies all or part of two counties: (1) that are adjacent to one another; and (2) each of which has a population of more than 1.4 million. (b) A permit issued by the railroad commission for a commercial disposal well…that authorizes the disposal of oil and gas waste may authorize the disposal of the waste only in the Ellenberger formation or a deeper formation.” 5/5/2011 Received from the Senate. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB105

SB-274, by Uresti, Relating to the regulation by groundwater conservation districts of certain wells. Pertains specifically to the Hill Country Priority Groundwater Management Area. 1/31/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB274

SB-301, by Wentworth, Relating to filing a complaint against a person licensed to engage in a business, occupation, or profession; providing civil and criminal penalties. The TBPG is following this legislation and will be discussing its potential impact for PGs. It’s my understanding that it shouldn’t affect any self-initiated complaints by the TBPG so you could still complain unofficially. Also, 39 TAC 851.106(e) says that Professional Geoscientists are supposed to report violations, so you’ve always got the excuse that you felt it was a violation and you reported it as such. Kind of like a Good Samaritan law. Scheduled for Public Hearing on 5/10/2011. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB301

SB-424, by Ellis, Relating to the development of a climate adaptation plan by certain entities. 2/2/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB424

SB-429, by Nichols, Relating to notification of applications for permits for certain injection wells. Adds giving a copy of the draft permit to the governing groundwater conservation district. 2/2/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB429

SB-430, by Watson, Adds a requirement to notify the governing groundwater conservation district to the list of required notifications of contaminated groundwater. 5/7/2011 Committee report sent to Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB430

SB-467, by Wentworth, Relating to the power of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to authorize certain injection wells that transect or terminate in the Edwards Aquifer. 5/10/2011 Placed on local & uncontested calendar. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB467

SB-657, by Huffman and Hegar, Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and abolishing the On-site Wastewater Treatment Research Council. Transfers groundwater protection for oil and gas wells to the Texas Railroad Commission. 4/19/2011 – Left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB657

SB-691, by Estes, Relating to the exemption from permitting by groundwater conservation districts for certain water wells used for domestic, livestock, and poultry watering purposes. 4/29/2011 – Signed by the Governor, Effective 9/1/2011. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB691

SB-692, by Estes, Relating to exemptions from groundwater conservation district permit requirements. 4/28/2011 – Sent to the Governor. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB692

SB-737, by Hegar, Relating to the management of groundwater production by groundwater conservation districts. 4/29/2011 – Signed by the Governor, Effective 9/1/2011. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB737

SB-756, by Seliger, Relating to a prohibition on the transport of surface water or groundwater more than a specified distance from the water’s source; providing an administrative penalty. A person may not transport surface water or groundwater more than 75 miles from the water’s source. 2/23/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB756

SB-1148, by Wentworth, Relating to the authority of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to authorize certain injection wells that transect or terminate in the Edwards Aquifer. 4/19/2011 – Left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB1148

SB-1295, by Hegar, Relating to the mining and reclamation of certain land previously affected by surface coal mining operations. 4/29/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB1295

SB-1303, by West, Relating to nonsubstantive additions to and corrections in enacted codes, to the nonsubstantive codification or disposition of various laws omitted from enacted codes, and to conforming codifications enacted by the 81st Legislature to other Acts of that legislature. 5/6/2011 Reported enrolled. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB1303

SB-1478, by Hegar, Relating to permit review timelines of the surface mining and reclamation division of the Railroad Commission of Texas. 5/3/2011 Reported favorably without amendments. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB1478

SB-1479, by Hegar, Relating to the coordination of uranium mining permitting activities by the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 3/22/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB1479

SB-1569, by Estes, Relating to the remediation of underground storage tanks and the fee on delivery of certain petroleum products. Also extends the PST Remediation Fund date to 9/1/2018. 3/23/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB1569

SB-1606, by Seliger, Relating to reporting requirements regarding groundwater withdrawals for water wells. 3/23/2011 – Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB1606

Henry M. Wise, P.G.

The Wise Report

5/7/2011

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