Posts Tagged ‘Soil’

The Wise Report

May 11, 2013

Henry M. Wise, P.G.

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

HB 4, by Ritter, Price, Johnson, Doug Miller, and Lucio III, Relating to the administration and functions of the Texas Water Development Board; authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds. Senate amendment reduces the Texas Water Development Board from 6 voluntary members to 3 full-time members.  Those member appointed must be one member must have experience in the field of engineering, one member must have experience in the field of public or private finance, and one member must have experience in the field of law or business.  5/8/2013, Senate appoints conferees-reported. For more information go to: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/history.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=HB4

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. 5/13/2013, not again placed on intent 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. 4/30/2013, committee report sent to Calendars. 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.” 4/30/2013, failed to receive affirmative vote 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. 5/9/2013, referred to Natural Resources. 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. 4/23/2013, left pending in committee. 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. 5/9/2013, committee report printed and distributed. 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. 5/3/2013, referred to Natural Resources. 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. 5/7/2013, not again placed on intent 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. 5/14/2013, scheduled for public hearing. 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. 4/16/2013, left pending in committee. 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). 5/9/2013, conference committee report diatributed. 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. 5/8/2013, placed on General State Calendar. 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. 5/6/25013, committee report sent to Calendars. 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. 5/2/2013, committee report sent to Calendars. 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. 5/10/2013, 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. 4/16/2013, left pending in committee. 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. 5/9/2013, placed on General State Calendar. 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. 4/23/2013, left pending in committee. 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, left pending in committee. 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. 4/16/2013, left pending in committee. 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. 4/16/2013, left pending in committee. 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. 5/14/2013, scheduled for public hearing. 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. 4/16/2013, left pending in committee. 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. 4/17/2013, left pending in committee. 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. 5/7/2013, committee report sent to Local & Consent Calendar. 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. 5/9/2013, referred to Energy 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. 4/15/2013, referred to Natural Resources. 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. 5/6/2013, not again placed on intent calendar. 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. 5/8/2013, referred to Environmental Regulation. 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. 5/6/2013, referred to Natural Resources. 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. 5/9/2013, committee report sent to Local & Consent Calendar. 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. 5/7/2013, left pending in committee. 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

May 11, 2013

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  • The Texas Association of Professional Geoscientists welcomes the three new Board Members to the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists.  We look forward to working with them.  Below is the press release with the short bios of the new members. 

    “Gov. Rick Perry has appointed three members to the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists for terms to expire Feb. 1, 2019. The board licenses and regulates the public practice of geoscience.

    Joseph P. DeWoody of Fort Worth is president of Clear Fork Royalty. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, National Association of Royalty Owners and American Association of Professional Landmen, and a board member of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and Oil Information Library of Fort Worth. He is also junior adviser to the Fort Worth Club Board of Governors, and a volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth and Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. DeWoody received a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration from Baylor University.

    Charles Thomas Hallmark of Hearne is a retired professor in the Texas A&M University Soil and Crop Sciences Department. He is a member of the American Registry of Certified Professionals in Soil Science, a current member and past president of the Professional Soil Scientists Association of Texas, and past president of the Post Oak Soil and Water Conservation Society. He is also a past member of the Soil Scientists Certification Board, American Society of Agronomy, and Soil Science Society of America. Hallmark served in the U.S. Army. He received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Technological College, a master’s degree in soil science from Texas Tech University, and a doctorate of pedology from Ohio State University. He is reappointed to the board.

    W. David Prescott II of Amarillo is president of Talon/LPE LTD. He is a member of the Texas Association of Professional Geoscientists and Texas Food and Fuel Association, and a board member of the Amarillo Tri State Exposition, Boy Scouts of America Golden Spread Council and West Texas A&M University Engineering and Enterprise Center advisory boards. He is a past board member of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, Don Harrington Discovery Center, and Texas Panhandle Chapter of the American Red Cross and West Texas A&M University Alumni Association. Prescott received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and Master of Business Administration from West Texas A&M University.”

Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Christopher C. Mathewson of College Station to the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists for a term to expire Feb. 1, 2017. The board licenses and regulates the public practice of geoscience.

Mathewson is a regents professor emeritus and a senior professor of geology at Texas A&M University. He is a licensed professional engineer in Texas and Arizona, and a licensed professional geologist in Texas and Oregon. He is a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Society of American Military Engineers, a fellow of the Geological Society of America, and is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Division of Environmental Geosciences, and the American Geophysical Union. He is also a member of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical & Petroleum Engineers, American Institute of Professional Geologists, the International Association of Engineering Geologists, the International Code Council, National Association of Geology Teachers and the South African Institute of Engineering Geologists. Mathewson is also a member of the Council of Examiners of the National Association of State Boards of Geology and participates in the writing and review of the licensure examination for professional geologists. He is past president and former executive director of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, and is past chairman of the Texas Section of the Association of Engineering Geologists, the Geological Society of America Engineering Geology Division, and the U.S. National Committee for International Association of Engineering Geologists. He is past president of the American Geological Institute and a former trustee of the Geological Society of America Foundation. He also served as a commissioned officer in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Mathewson received a bachelor’s degree from Case Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree and Doctorate of Geological Engineering from the University of Arizona.

BY JACK Z. SMITH

FORT WORTH — Preliminary findings from a study of hydraulic fracturing and shale-gas development show no direct link between the controversial process and groundwater contamination, the University of Texas professor who led the study said Wednesday.

Problems in shale fields appear to be related to issues such as poor casing or cementing of wells, rather than fracking, UT geology professor Charles “Chip” Groat told about 150 people at the City Club in downtown Fort Worth. The audience included oil and gas industry representatives and city officials who regulate drilling in North Texas’ Barnett Shale.

The $300,000 study is being funded by UT’s Energy Institute. Groat said a final report is expected to be issued in the next two months. The institute looked at reports of groundwater contamination in the Barnett Shale, the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana and East Texas, and the Marcellus Shale in the Northeastern U.S.

Groat said a major goal of the study is to “separate fact from fiction” and produce accurate information that will help government policymakers adopt wise policies and regulations that “are grounded in science.”

He said the institute also plans an in-depth “case study” of the Barnett Shale, which would include water-related issues and other environmental concerns.

To Read More Click Here:

The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists met on November 7, 2011 to consider Advisory Opinion #7.  This Advisory Opinion was in response to the reaction to the Proposed Rules published in the September 30th edition of the Texas Register.  These proposed rules dealt with the practice of Oil & Gas.  There were two sections to this proposed rule.  Section 33 dealt with “Permissive Practice” (Voluntary Practice by someone who is licensed) and Section 34 which dealt with unlicensed Practice.  These proposed rules were the result of months of work by an Oil& Gas advisory committee.  The intent was to publish them to gather greater input not to implement the proposed rules.  Yet that was not how the proposed rules were received by the public.

The resulting public fire storm lead the TBPG to initiate Advisory Opinion #7.  At the November 7th Meeting , there were about 30 people in attendance.  Some of the notable people were Dave Rensink, Richard How, Henry Wise, Peter Rose, John Mikels, Scott Daniels and Bruce Darling.  Chairman Kitchens opened the meeting by explaining the process and history of how the proposed rules came about and reassured that this was not a power grab by the Board.  He stated that the Governors office was aware of the activities of the Board.   After his statement the Board proceeded to withdraw the proposed rules.  The Board voted 8-0 to withdraw the rules.  Also as a result, the Oil and Gas workgroup was disbanded.  The Board then laid out the Advisory Opinion.  The Board voted 8-0 to adopt the proposal.  After that the floor was opened for public comments.  Very few people got up to speak.  Two of the people who did speak call for the Board to resign.  Talking to people afterwards they seemed satisfied with how things went.

Below is part of the Advisory Opinion from which the TBPG Chairman read:

The Board has had questions for many years concerning the intent of the word “exclusively” and the phrase “for the benefit of private industry” that is included in the above cited section of the Texas Geoscience Practice Act (Act).  The Board has attempted to determine if this word and this phrase were included in the statute with the intent that some oil and gas activities would not be exempt from the requirements of the Act.  For example, is geoscientific interpretation presented for the sole purpose of securing financing from the public exclusively part of the exploration and development process?  Could the fact that the benefits of oil and gas exploration are not exclusively for the benefit of private industry since the public also benefits in the form of severance tax paid to the state be a cause to require a license?  These are the types of questions that have been posed to the Board in the form of inquiries and complaints over the years.

The Board has had an ad-hoc Legal Interpretation Committee explore the question and this activity did not conclusively resolve the issue.  The Board also encouraged the development of an advisory workgroup to involve the oil and gas community to assist with answering the issue.  Attempts were made to secure wide participation in the workgroup, and included liaison representatives with involvement in the Houston Geological Society, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists.  Over a period of more than a year, the workgroup met and finally petitioned the Board with a rule proposal that would define that certain activities involving oil and gas exploration and development would not be exempt.  All members of the workgroup had ample and equal opportunity to provide input to the rule proposal.  The workgroup members felt that the issue should be made available to a broader audience for further review. 

The Board finally agreed to publish the rule proposal for the purpose of receiving more widespread public input to help with the determination of exemption applicability but only if certified by legal counsel that the proposal was within the Board’s authority to adopt.  Based on the subsequent overwhelming public opinion against adoption of the proposal, and legislative intent brought to the attention of the Board, the Board has withdrawn the proposed rulemaking.

Special Board Meeting

 November 7, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

333 Guadalupe Street, Room 100 (tentative)

Austin, Texas 78701

AGENDA

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call and certification of quorum
  3. Consideration and possible action on immediate withdrawal of the Board’s proposed rules 22 Texas Administrative Code §851.33 and §851.34 and the Board’s proposed amendment to 22 Texas Administrative Code §851.10
  4. Consideration and possible action on posting of a Board initiated Advisory Opinion concerning the re-affirmation of the exemption of exploration and development of oil, gas, or other energy resources described in Section 1002.252 of the Texas Geoscience Practice Act
  5. Public comment.  Limited to five (5) minutes per person who has signed up to speak using TBPG’s speaker request form (time may be extended at the discretion of the Board Chairman)
  6.  Adjournment

The Board  may meet in closed session on any agenda item listed above as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Gov. Code Chapter 551.

If you require auxiliary aids, services or material in an alternate format please contact the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists at least five working days prior to the meeting date.  Listed below is helpful information if assistance is required. Phone: (512) 936-4401, Fax: (512) 936-4409, email:  chorton@tbpg.state.tx.us, TDD/RELAY TEXAS: 1-800-relay-VV (for voice), 1-800-relay-TX (for TDD).

From the San Angelo Times:

Angelo State University faculty were awarded $165,000 dollars to be used on field trips.  The funding is a grant from the National Science Foundation to be used as part of a project started by ASU.  This project is designed to get students interested in pursuing careers in the Geosciences.   The project is called  “Pathways for Inspiring, Educating and Recruiting West Texans in the Geosciences,” .  It will “also  offer a summer workshop for 40 science teachers, which will be followed by professional development during the school year.”

To read more about this program Click Here