Posts Tagged ‘Water Rights’

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.”

Truth and Facts on Hydraulic Fracturing and Environmental Implications
This one day event conference in Houston offers a primer on many of the technical aspects of Hydraulic Fracturing from an Oil & Gas perspective. Speakers will present on topics ranging from the technical aspects of Hydraulic Fracturing to environmental evaluations to case studies.  Case studies will be presented that highlight the realities of Hydraulic Fracturing from all over the U.S. and help dispel the myths.  The conference features speakers from the Private Sector and Regulatory Agencies for the best insight on what is out there today.
Meinen
Kreitler
Hedgcoxe
Watts
Molofsky
PRESENTERS:

Dr. Charles Kreitler of LBG-Guyton Associates
“Lessons Learned from the Barnett Shale Range Resources Litigation”
Reif Hedgcoxe and Troy W. Meinen of Environmental Resources Mgmt.
*Baseline Environmental Monitoring of Water  Resources
Lisa Molofsky of GSI Environmental Inc.
*Lines of Evidence Approach to the Evaluation of Stray Gas Incidents *New Geochemical Data
Leslie Savage – Railroad Commission of Texas
* Regulatory and Permitting Frame Work of Texas
Mike Watts – Director, Fracturing Stimulation Affairs, Halliburton
* Shale Development Overview


Additional Topics:

* Update on the Status of Hydraulic Fracturing Technology
*Geology of Barnett and Eagle-Ford Shale
* Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater Mgmt

Eligible for up to 8 PDH units

When: October 24, 2012 – 7:30 A.M. (Registration) to 5:00 P.M
Venue: J.W. Marriot
5150 Westheimer Road at Sage Houston, Texas 77056
EVENT SPONSORED BY: TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL GEOSCIENTISTS
Cost: $125- TAPG Members
$125- TAEP Members
$125 – HGS Members

$175 – Nonmembers
All On-site Registrations + $10

               

by Tom Shepstone

We have done three previous posts on this blog pointing out the gargantuan flaws in Marvin Resnikoff’s work.  You can read them herehere and here.  We have noted his work is not only seriously blemished with numerous defects, but his testimony has been rejected again and again in courts of scientific research as well as law, qualifying him as the perfect “anti-expert.”  Well, it turns out the scientific community, may have had it with him, too.  The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has just released a report that all but him accuses him of being an eccentric crank.  Here’s how what they said in their cover letter distributing the report:

In response to concerns over human exposure to radon in natural gas supplies from the Appalachian Basin, the USGS has released a preliminary dataset providing radon-222 concentrations in natural gas samples derived from the Marcellus Shale and Upper Devonian sandstone reservoirs.  This preliminary dataset has been summarized in a short report authored by my colleagues Liz Rowan and Tom Kraemer, which can be downloaded from the USGS Publications Warehouse: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1159/

And, here’s what they say in the report itself (emphasis added):

A recent report by Resnikoff (2012) has led to increased interest in possible human exposure to radon as a component of natural gas in household settings.  The report, however, relied on theoretical calculations utilizing limited data from geologic analogs.  A decision was made to release our small and preliminary dataset because, to the authors’ knowledge, measurements of radon in natural gas at the wellhead have not previously been published for the Appalachian Basin.

This is polite agency talk for “we’re not going to let this guy keep getting away with distorting our previous work based on bunch of hokey speculations.”  Their report effectively confirms the criticisms of Resnikoff’s work by Ralph Johnson and Lynn R. Anspaugh, Ph.D, the relevant details of which have been shared here, but there’s more.

Radon is no simple subject, but both Johnson and Anspaugh have noted Resnikoff’s numbers are wildly unrealistic, starting with his most basic assumptions, which rely upon bad arithmetic and speculation to extrapolate old data into new doomsday threats of radon entering metro area homes in high concentrations.  Readers of Resnikoff’s hyperbolic report will recall he said this about radon concentrations in the Marcellus Shale (emphasis added):

 

To Read More CLICK HERE

Joint
HGS-SIPES
Ethics Meeting

Thursday, July 19

Oil Spills, Ethics and Society:
How they intersect and where the responsibilities reside
Dr. W.C. ‘Rusty’ Riese,
AAPG Distinguised Speaker

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp recently announced the formation of a new A&M system center to address multiple water issues in and develop solutions for Texas.

Texas AgriLife ResearchTexas AgriLife Extension ServiceTexas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Texas A&M University–San Antonio are collaborating on the development of the Water Conservation and Technology Center, which will support high priority projects that focus on Texas’ water issues.

“The state of Texas has a rich history that has always been linked to water—rights, conservation and control. This unique agency collaboration will lead to development of more efficiency and effectiveness in managing this vital resource,” Sharp said.

Administered by the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), the center will increase the System’s ability to meet existing and emerging statewide needs in water conservation and technology, according to Dr. Neal Wilkins, TWRI director.

“The center will accelerate the development and adoption of new and innovative technologies to solve emerging water problems and meet future water supply needs,” Wilkins said.

The center includes a collaborative relationship with TEES through the Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT) and will be located at the TEES South Presa campus in San Antonio.

Cindy Wall, TCAT executive director, said the center will target its work on four high priority efforts: water conservation, water reuse, groundwater desalination and energy development and water use.

“The center will establish a team of scientists, engineers and water professionals dedicated to applied research and development, testing and validation, technology transfer, and training and extension education in these four areas,” Wall said.

The center will work with industry, state and federal agencies, municipalities, trade associations, and other research institutions to undertake projects and develop solutions within these four areas.

WCTC

David Lea, Oakville Beaver|May 23, 2012 – 3:50 PM

Near tragedy sparks new drilling rules

Near tragedy sparks new drilling rules. Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn. Oakville

In the wake of a potential tragedy in Oakville after a borehole was drilled in a local neighbourhood, Ontario is now strengthening regulations around drilling for geothermal energy systems.
The Dalton McGuinty government announced Friday that vertical, closed-loop drilling for geothermal energy systems will now require provincial approval with the installers also required to consult with a certified geoscientist before drilling.

“I was especially proud of my government for how quickly they acted. The minister’s response was sensible, it was balanced, but it was timely,” said Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn.

The new regulations, which take effect immediately, also require installers to develop an emergency plan before drilling.

Geothermal energy is a form of renewable energy that leverages underground temperatures to heat and cool buildings.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Oakville council and the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs called on the Province to regulate drilling for geothermal energy systems after a natural gas deposit was struck in the Maple Grove Drive/Lakeshore Road area during this type of drilling on April 19.

This disturbed pocket of gas leaked into a home about 100 metres away. When the homeowner noticed the sump pump bubbling like a milkshake, Union Gas and the Oakville Fire Department were notified.

It led to a frenzied search by the fire department and Union Gas for the source of the gas leak.

The borehole was eventually discovered and potential disaster averted.

In the aftermath, Oakville Fire Chief Lee Grant said the development of new techniques for installing geothermal energy systems, particularly vertical drilling had created a regulatory gap in Ontario.

Grant said that while there are regulations and safety protocols concerning drilling for oil, natural gas or a well, there are none for digging a deep hole for any other purpose.

The provincial government move to close that gap was applauded this week by Oakville’s public servants.

“Oakville council is pleased that Minister (Jim) Bradley and the McGuinty government have listened to our concerns and the concerns of The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs in acting to strengthen the requirements on borehole drilling for geothermal energy installations,” said Burton.

“The Town supports the Province’s commitment to promote renewable energy sources in a way that protects the health and safety of our community.”

Flynn agreed.

“It makes a lot of sense obviously given the circumstances. I’ll be the first to admit I had no idea there was natural gas under Oakville. With that knowledge in hand it would only make sense if you took a look to see if there was a need for regulation.

“In this case, with the circumstances in Oakville, the evidence is quite clear there is a need for regulation,” the MPP said.

Ted Kantrowitz, vice president of the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC), said his organization is urging its industry to review the new requirements and to take full responsibility to implement them immediately on all job sites.

Kantrowitz said clarification is needed with regard to who the new regulations will apply to.

“As we said earlier, it is clear this was not a geothermal-specific incident, but could have happened with any non-petroleum driller engaged in drilling a shallow borehole in the area.

“This includes water-well drilling, foundation pile drilling, routine construction drilling, test hole or other types of exploratory drilling, all of which are equally routine in Ontario.

“CGC has records of thousands of geothermal boreholes in Ontario as of this writing; there are tens of thousands of other types of shallow boreholes throughout the province,” wrote Kantrowitz in an e-mail.

“As gas pockets may be found across southern Ontario, and are already anticipated in drilling industry best practice as well as existing regulation, we at CGC will specifically seek clarification regarding whether all Ontario drillers who drill shallow boreholes in southern Ontario will now be required to enforce this temporary regulation — i.e. hiring geotechnical engineers for construction drilling approvals — as we would expect. Given the Town and the Province’s quick and severe reaction on this, I have to believe that these other drillers are just as much in danger of finding natural gas unexpectedly even though they execute due diligence as our geothermal driller did.”

Kantrowitz said the CGC would publicize the new regulations to more than 4,000 Ontario stakeholders on its mailing lists.

The Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) supported Burton’s concerns about drilling of vertical boreholes for geothermal heating systems.

The organization issued a statement after the incident in Oakville resulted in the evacuation of a home near the drilling site. The OGWA called for regulation.

The Ministry of the Environment will consult with industry stakeholders in the coming months on the new regulations and will also be conducting inspections to ensure installers are meeting safety standards.