Legislative Update 4-10-2013

Posted: April 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Wise Report

April 6, 2013

Henry M. Wise, P.G.

 

It’s amazing how fast things can change sometimes.  On Monday, April 1, 2013 Matt Cowan, President of Texas Association of Professional Geoscientists, informed me, among others, that an amendment to the Texas State Budget bill had been submitted by Representative Jeff Leach (Plano) to defund the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG) and give the money to the Texas Teacher’s Retirement System for Health Insurance (no, this wasn’t an April Fool joke).  My understanding is that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas Department of Agriculture, among others in different amendments, among others for the same purpose.  Thanks to the work Matt Cowan and John Mikels (Geos Consulting), among others, Representative Leach was convinced to withdraw the amendment against the TBPG on Wednesday April 3, 2013.

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The following filed bills may be of interest to Texas geologists. New information is listed in bold:

 

HB 86, by Callegari, Relating to the criteria for review by the Sunset Advisory Commission of an agency that licenses an occupation. “A member of the legislature may submit proposed legislation that would create an occupational licensing program or significantly affect an existing occupational licensing program to the commission for review and analysis.” This bill opens the door to more attacks on the TBPG, among other Boards. 4/9/2013, placed General State Calendar. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB86

 

HB 87, by Callegari, Relating to regulation of an individual’s occupation. “An individual may engage in an occupation not prohibited by law without being subject to a state agency rule, policy, or practice that regulates the occupation if the rule, policy, or practice is:

(1) substantially burdensome; and

(2) unnecessary to fulfill the purpose and intent of the statute authorizing the regulation of the occupation.

(b) A state agency rule, policy, or practice may substantially burden an individual’s right to engage in an occupation only if the agency demonstrates that the rule, policy, or practice is necessary to fulfill the purpose and intent of the statute authorizing the regulation of the occupation. “

This bill also opens the door to more attacks on the TBPG, among other Boards. 2/25/2013, left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB87

 

HB 100, by Taylor, Van, Identical to SB 136, Relating to unit operations for oil, gas, or oil and gas production or carbon dioxide storage. 3/13/2013 Left pending in committee. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB100

 

HB 147, by Burkett, Duplicate to HB 426, very similar to SB 467, Relating to the regulatory analysis of rules proposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. “Before adopting an environmental rule, the commission shall conduct a regulatory analysis that weighs the costs and environmental effects expected to result from implementation of and compliance with the rule.” 3/19/2013, left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB147

 

HB 340, by Rodriguez, Eddie, Relating to the power of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to authorize certain injection wells that transect or terminate in the Edwards Aquifer. Allows injection wells that transect or terminate in that portion of the Edwards Aquifer inside the boundaries of Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. 4/2/2013, left pending in committee. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB340

 

HB 426, by Creighton, Duplicate to HB 147, very similar to SB 467, Relating to the regulatory analysis of rules proposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. “Before adopting an environmental rule, the commission shall conduct a regulatory analysis that weighs the costs and environmental effects expected to result from implementation of and compliance with the rule.” 2/11/2013, referred to Environmental Regulation. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=426

 

HB 569, by White, Relating to a study on the stringency of state environmental standards. The TCEQ will conduct a study of state environmental statutes and agency rules and assure that they aren’t more stringent than Federal requirements. 2/14/2013, Referred to Environmental Regulation. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB569

 

HB 677, by Geren, Relating to the regulation and enforcement of dam safety by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Exempts small dams located on private property from meeting requirements related to dam safety. 4/4/2013, referred to Administration. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB569

 

HB 788, by Smith, Relating to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The TCEQ will adopt a program for the permitting of greenhouse gases and the program shall remain in effect until it’s been determined that greenhouse gas emissions are no longer required to be regulated under federal law, on the effective date of the determination. 4/5/2013, corrected committee report sent to Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB788

 

HB 824, by Callegari, Relating to a volume-based exemption from reporting requirements for accidental discharges or spills from wastewater facilities. It’s not necessary to notify the TCEQ of an accidental discharge or spill of 1,500 gallons or less from a wastewater treatment facility or works. 4/5/2013, corrected committee report sent to Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB824.

 

HB 878, by Crownover, Relating to the filing with the state of well logs by operators of oil-related or gas-related wells; providing a penalty. Well logs are to be filed electronically. 4/2/2013, House Committee report sent to Local & consent Calendar. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB878.

 

HB 1079, by Smith, Identical to SB 434. Relating to the procedural requirements for action by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on applications for production area authorizations. 4/5/2013, committee report sent to Calendars. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB1079.

 

HB 1189, by Larson. Identical to SB 1168. Relating to interstate cooperation to address regional water issues. 2/20/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB1189.

 

HB 1600, by Cook. Identical to SB 206. Relating to the continuation and functions of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, to the transfer of certain functions from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and to the functions of the Office of Public Utility Counsel; authorizing a fee. Transfers the powers, duties, functions, programs, and activities of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) relating to the economic regulation of water and sewer service to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). 4/9/2013, scheduled for public hearing. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB1600.

 

HB 2046, by Workman. Identical to SB 1024. Relating to a study evaluating and making recommendations for wastewater management in the contributing zone of the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer. 4/2/2013, left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2046.

 

HB 2146, by Hilderbran, Relating to limits on mining of marl, sand, gravel, shell, or mudshell in certain protected freshwater areas. Allows for no more than 1,000 cubic yards from the area located east of IH-35. 4/2/2013, left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2146.

 

HB 2166, by Bonnen and Dennis, Relating to the continuation, functions, and name of the Railroad Commission of Texas; providing for the imposition of fees, the repeal of provisions for the suspension of the collection of fees, and the elimination of a fee. Among other things, changes the name of the RRC to the Texas Energy Resources Commission. Scheduled for public hearing on 3/27/2013. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2166.

 

HB 2577, by Larson. Identical to SB 272. Relating to water well recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including the production, use, and withdrawal of groundwater. 3/18/2013, Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2577.

 

HB 2578, by Larson. Identical to SB 1760. Relating to the development of brackish groundwater. 3/18/2013, Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2578.

 

HB 2624, by Ashby. Relating to the regulation of water wells under the jurisdiction of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to prevent groundwater pollution. 3/18/2013, Referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2624.

 

HB 2739, by Martinez, Fischer. Identical to SB 1763. Relating to the process for appealing the desired future conditions adopted by a groundwater conservation district for an aquifer. 4/9/2013, scheduled for public hearing. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2739.

 

HB 2769, by Rodriguez, Justin. Relating to permitting requirements of groundwater conservation districts, including permits to transfer water. 3/14/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2769.

 

HB 2992, by King, Tracy O. Relating to the reuse, discharge, or disposal of fluid produced from certain oil or gas wells on which a hydraulic fracturing treatment has been performed. 4/10/2013, scheduled for public hearing. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB2992.

 

HB 3114, by Hilderbran. Relating to the regional groundwater planning process for minor aquifers. 3/19/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB3114.

 

HB 3250, by Callegari. Relating to protecting landowners against aquifer depletion. 3/19/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB3250.

 

HB 3289, by Martinez. Relating to the licensing of professionals engaged in Texas pollutant discharge elimination system-related stormwater activity. This is a new license for TPDES-related stormwater work. There’s a disparagy between PGs, who have to show experience, and PEs and architects, who don’t. 3/19/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB3289.

 

HB 3309, by Crownover. Relating to the composition and use of money in the oil and gas regulation and cleanup fund. 4/3/2013, left pending in committee. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB3309.

 

HB 3317, by Keffer. Identical to SB 1749. Relating to the exemption of a water well from certain permitting by and compliance with rules of a groundwater conservation district. 3/19/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB3317.

 

HB 3539, by Gutierez. Relating to the source and supply of water used for oil and gas exploration and production in the State of Texas. 3/20/2013, referred to Energy Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB3539.

 

HB 3599, by Burnam. Relating to restrictions on the siting, drilling, completion, and operation of oil and gas wells in certain locations. 3/20/2013, referred to Energy Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB3599.

 

SB 136, by Ellis, Identical to HB 100. Relating to unit operations for oil, gas, or oil and gas production or carbon dioxide storage. 1/29/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB136

 

SB 138, by Zaffirini, Relating to procedures for filing complaints with, and providing notice of certain violations to, the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists. This bill is designed to foster cooperation between agencies. As of now, the PG Board can only discover violations if a public complaint is made or the Board finds it themselves. This bill would require other agencies, such as the TCEQ to report violations to the PG Board when they find them. This has not been happening. 3/14/2013, received from the Senate. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB138

 

SB 206, by Nichols. Identical to HB 1600. Relating to the continuation and functions of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, to the transfer of certain functions from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and to the functions of the Office of Public Utility Counsel; authorizing a fee. Transfers the powers, duties, functions, programs, and activities of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) relating to the economic regulation of water and sewer service to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). 2/25/2013, referred to Business & Commerce. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB206

 

SB 212, by Nichols, Huffman. Identical to HB 2166. Relating to the continuation, functions, and name of the Railroad Commission of Texas; providing for the imposition of fees, the repeal of provisions for the suspension of the collection of fees, and the elimination of a fee. 3/12/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB212

 

SB 272, by Seliger. Identical to HB 2577, Relating to water well recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including the production, use, and withdrawal of groundwater. 4/2/2013, committee report printed and distributed. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB272.

 

SB 434, by Smith, Identical to HB 1079. Relating to the procedural requirements for action by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on applications for production area authorizations. 2/13/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB434.

 

SB 467, by Hegar. Very similar to HB 147 and HB 426. Relating to the regulatory analysis of rules proposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 4/8/2013, placed on intent calendar. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB467.

 

SB 536, by Hinojosa. Relating to regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Before adopting an environmental rule, the commission shall conduct a regulatory analysis that weighs the costs and environmental effects expected to result from implementation of and compliance with the rule. 2/20/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB536.

 

SB 584, by Hegar. Relating to a volume-based exemption from reporting requirements for accidental discharges or spills from wastewater facilities. Reportable sewage spills from a wastewater treatment facility are greater than 1,500 gallons. 2/20/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB584.

 

SB 873, by Hegar. Relating to the authority of a groundwater conservation district to require a permit for the drilling or operation of a water well used to supply water for the performance of a hydraulic fracturing treatment on an oil or gas well. Groundwater Districts may not provide an exemption to the requirement to obtain a permit. 4/2/2013, left pending in committee. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB873.

 

SB 941, by Davis. Relating to the adoption of rules by the Railroad Commission of Texas regulating the exploration for and production of natural gas in the unincorporated areas of certain counties. “Rules adopted under this section must promote gas exploration and production while securing the quality of life and existing economic interests, including property values and development plans, in the unincorporated areas of the counties.”. 3/12/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB941.

 

SB 1024, by Watson. Identical to HB 2046. Relating to a study evaluating and making recommendations for wastewater management in the contributing zone of the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer. 3/12/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1024.

 

SB 1168, by Hegar. Identical to HB 1189. Relating to interstate cooperation to address regional water issues. 3/12/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1168.

 

SB 1249, by Carona. Relating to plugging, capping, repairing, or completing certain wells. 4/2/2013, left pending in committee.For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1249.

 

SB 1532, by Zaffirini. Relating to the power of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to authorize certain injection wells that transect or terminate in the Edwards Aquifer. 4/9/2013, scheduled for public hearing. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1532.

 

SB 1749, by Uresti. Identical to HB 3317. Relating to the exemption of a water well from certain permitting by and compliance with rules of a groundwater conservation district.3/25/2013, referred to Natural Resources.For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1749.

SB 1760, by Uresti. Identical to HB 2578. Relating to the development of brackish groundwater. 3/25/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1760.

 

SB 1763, by Uresti. Identical to HB 2539. Relating to permitting requirements of groundwater conservation districts, including permits to transfer water. 3/25/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1763.

 

SB 1819, by Deuell. Relating to the location of a sand mine; authorizing an administrative penalty. 3/19/2013, referred to Natural Resources. For more information go to:http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SB1819.

 

I’ll be updating this list in the future, throughout the legislative session.

 

Henry M. Wise, P.G.

The Wise Report

April 6, 2013

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