Bill Text: TX HB2871 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the regulation of certain aggregate production operations by the Railroad Commission of Texas; authorizing a fee; providing administrative penalties and other civil remedies; creating criminal offenses.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-08 - Left pending in committee [HB2871 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB2871-Introduced.html
  86R5681 JXC-D
 
  By: Biedermann H.B. No. 2871
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation of certain aggregate production
  operations by the Railroad Commission of Texas; authorizing a fee;
  providing administrative penalties and other civil remedies;
  creating criminal offenses.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Title 4, Natural Resources Code, is amended by
  adding Chapter 135 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 135. AGGREGATE PRODUCTION OPERATIONS
  SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
         Sec. 135.0001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Affected land" means:
                     (A)  the area from which any materials are to be or
  have been displaced in an aggregate production operation;
                     (B)  the area on which any materials that are
  displaced are to be or have been deposited;
                     (C)  the haul roads and impoundment basins within
  the aggregate production operation; and
                     (D)  other land whose natural state has been or
  will be disturbed as a result of the aggregate production
  operations.
               (2)  "Aggregate production operation" means an
  extraction operation at an aggregate production operation site
  described by Section 28A.001(1), Water Code.
               (3)  "Commission" means the Railroad Commission of
  Texas.
               (4)  "Operator" and "responsible party" have the
  meanings assigned by Section 28A.001, Water Code.
         Sec. 135.0002.  APPLICABILITY. This chapter applies only to
  an aggregate production operation that includes a facility for
  which a permit is required under Chapter 382, Health and Safety
  Code.
         Sec. 135.0003.  REPORT. The commission shall provide to the
  governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of
  representatives an annual report with information regarding the
  implementation of this chapter, including:
               (1)  the results of the survey to locate unregistered
  active aggregate production operations under Section 135.0102;
               (2)  the number and general location of the registered
  aggregate production operations;
               (3)  the number of inspectors trained in multiple areas
  related to the inspection of aggregate production operations;
               (4)  the number of inspections conducted; and
               (5)  the results of the inspections.
         Sec. 135.0004.  AGGREGATE PRODUCTION OPERATION REGULATION
  ACCOUNT. (a) The aggregate production operation regulation
  account is created as an account in the general revenue fund of the
  state treasury.
         (b)  Money in the aggregate production operation regulation
  account may be used only by the commission or its employees or
  agents for the purposes of this chapter.
         Sec. 135.0005.  MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING. The commission
  may enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Texas
  Commission on Environmental Quality as necessary to administer and
  enforce this chapter.
  SUBCHAPTER B. POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMISSION
         Sec. 135.0051.  GENERAL AUTHORITY OF COMMISSION. To
  accomplish the purposes of this chapter, the commission may:
               (1)  adopt, amend, and enforce rules pertaining to
  aggregate production operations consistent with this chapter;
               (2)  issue permits under this chapter;
               (3)  conduct hearings under this chapter and Chapter
  2001, Government Code;
               (4)  issue orders requiring a person to take actions
  necessary to comply with this chapter or rules adopted under this
  chapter;
               (5)  issue orders modifying previous orders;
               (6)  issue a final order revoking the permit of a person
  who has not complied with a commission order to take action required
  by this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter;
               (7)  hire employees, adopt standards for employment,
  and hire or authorize the hiring of outside contractors to assist in
  carrying out this chapter;
               (8)  accept, receive, and administer grants, gifts,
  loans, or other money made available from any source for the
  purposes of this chapter; and
               (9)  perform any other duty or act required by or
  provided for in this chapter.
         Sec. 135.0052.  MONITORING, REPORTING, AND INSPECTIONS. (a)
  The commission may:
               (1)  require monitoring and reporting;
               (2)  enter and inspect aggregate production
  operations; and
               (3)  take other actions necessary to administer,
  enforce, or evaluate the administration of this chapter.
         (b)  For purposes of this section, the commission or its
  authorized representative:
               (1)  without advance notice and on presentation of
  appropriate credentials, has the right to enter:
                     (A)  an aggregate production operation; or
                     (B)  premises on which records required to be
  maintained are located; and
               (2)  at reasonable times and without delay, may have
  access to and copy records required under this chapter or rules
  adopted under this chapter or inspect any monitoring equipment or
  method of operation required under this chapter or rules adopted
  under this chapter.
         (c)  The commission shall inspect each active aggregate
  production operation in this state for compliance with any
  applicable environmental laws and rules under the jurisdiction of
  the commission at least once every three years.
         (d)  The commission may conduct an inspection only after
  providing notice to the responsible party in accordance with
  commission policy.
         (e)  Except as provided by Subsection (f), an inspection must
  be conducted by one or more inspectors trained in the regulatory
  requirements under the jurisdiction of the commission that are
  applicable to an active aggregate production operation. If the
  inspection is conducted by more than one inspector, each inspector
  is not required to be trained in each of the applicable regulatory
  requirements, but the combined training of the inspectors must
  include each of the applicable regulatory requirements.
         (f)  An investigation in response to a complaint satisfies
  the requirement of an inspection under this section if a potential
  noncompliance issue not related to the complaint is observed and
  is:
               (1)  not within an area of expertise of the
  investigator but is referred by the investigator to the commission
  for further investigation; or
               (2)  within an area of expertise of the inspector and is
  appropriately investigated and appropriately addressed in the
  investigation report.
  SUBCHAPTER C. REGISTRATION AND SURVEY
         Sec. 135.0101.  REGISTRATION. (a) The responsible party
  for an aggregate production operation shall register the operation
  with the commission not later than the 10th business day before the
  beginning date of extraction activities and shall renew the
  registration annually as extraction activities continue.
         (b)  After extraction activities at an aggregate production
  operation have ceased and the operator has notified the commission
  in writing that the operations have ceased, the requirements of
  this subchapter are not applicable to the aggregate production
  operation.
         (c)  The commission may not register an aggregate production
  operation unless the commission has issued a reclamation permit for
  the operation under Subchapter D.
         (d)  The commission may not register an aggregate production
  operation unless the responsible party provides to the commission
  documentation of any required permit issued for the operation by
  each groundwater conservation district in which the operation is
  located.
         Sec. 135.0102.  SURVEY. (a) The commission annually shall
  conduct a physical survey of the state to:
               (1)  identify all active aggregate production
  operations in this state; and
               (2)  ensure that each active aggregate production
  operation in this state is registered with the commission.
         (b)  The commission may contract with or seek assistance from
  a governmental entity or other person to conduct the annual survey
  required by Subsection (a) to identify active aggregate production
  operations that are not registered under this chapter.
         Sec. 135.0103.  FEES. (a) A person who registers an
  aggregate production operation under this subchapter shall pay
  annually an aggregate production operation registration fee to the
  commission in an amount established by commission rule.
         (b)  The commission shall set the annual registration fee in
  an amount sufficient to maintain a registry of active aggregate
  production operations in this state and implement this chapter, not
  to exceed $1,000.
         (c)  Registration fees collected under this section shall be
  deposited in the aggregate production operation regulation account
  and may be used only to implement this chapter.
         Sec. 135.0104.  REGISTRATION PENALTY. The commission may
  assess a penalty of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000
  for each year in which an aggregate production operation operates
  without being registered under this subchapter. The total penalty
  under this section may not exceed $25,000 for an aggregate
  production operation that is operated in three or more years
  without being registered.
  SUBCHAPTER D. RECLAMATION PERMIT
         Sec. 135.0151.  RECLAMATION OBJECTIVE. (a) The basic
  objective of reclamation is to reestablish on a continuing basis,
  where required, vegetation and other natural conditions consistent
  with the anticipated subsequent use of the affected land.
         (b)  The process of reclamation may require contouring,
  terracing, grading, backfilling, resoiling, revegetation,
  compaction and stabilization and settling ponds, water
  impoundments, diversion ditches, and other water treatment
  facilities in order to minimize water diminution to existing water
  sources, pollution, soil and wind erosion, or flooding resulting
  from extraction or any other activity that may be considered
  necessary to accomplish the reclamation of the affected land to a
  substantially beneficial condition.
         Sec. 135.0152.  RECLAMATION PERMIT REQUIRED. (a) A person
  may not conduct an aggregate production operation without first
  obtaining a reclamation permit for that operation from the
  commission under this subchapter.
         (b)  The commission by rule shall establish requirements for
  obtaining a permit. The requirements must:
               (1)  ensure that the permit holder is capable of
  completing a reclamation process for the permit area in a manner
  that is compatible with the objective described by Section
  135.0151; and
               (2)  be modeled on the reclamation requirements for
  surface mining of uranium and uranium ore under Chapter 131 and
  surface coal mining under Chapter 134, including the submission of
  a reclamation plan and a performance bond.
         Sec. 135.0153.  PERMIT APPLICATION AND ISSUANCE. (a) The
  commission by rule shall establish requirements for submitting a
  permit application.
         (b)  Chapter 2001, Government Code, applies to a permit
  application under this subchapter.
         (c)  On the basis of a complete application for a permit, the
  commission shall approve, require modification of, or deny a permit
  application.
         (d)  An applicant for a permit has the burden of establishing
  that the application complies with this subchapter and rules
  adopted under this chapter.
         Sec. 135.0154.  PERMIT REVISIONS. (a) The commission by
  rule shall require that a permit holder:
               (1)  notify the commission of any significant changes
  in a condition that the commission evaluated as part of the permit
  application process that occur after the permit was issued; and
               (2)  apply for a permit revision if the commission
  determines a revision is appropriate.
         (b)  A permit revision application is subject to the same
  requirements for issuance as an initial permit.
         Sec. 135.0155.  CIVIL OR ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT.
  Subchapter H, Chapter 134, applies to the civil or administrative
  enforcement of this subchapter or a rule, order, or permit adopted
  or issued under this subchapter in the same manner as Subchapter H,
  Chapter 134, applies to the civil or administrative enforcement of
  that chapter or a rule, order, or permit adopted or issued under
  that chapter.
         Sec. 135.0156.  CRIMINAL PENALTY FOR WILFUL AND KNOWING
  VIOLATION. (a) A person commits an offense if the person wilfully
  and knowingly violates a condition of a permit issued under this
  subchapter or does not comply with an order issued under this
  subchapter, except an order incorporated in a decision issued by
  the commission under Section 134.175, as applicable under Section
  135.0155.
         (b)  An offense under this section is punishable by:
               (1)  a fine of not more than $10,000;
               (2)  imprisonment for not more than one year; or
               (3)  both the fine and the imprisonment.
         Sec. 135.0157.  CRIMINAL PENALTY FOR FALSE STATEMENT,
  REPRESENTATION, OR CERTIFICATION. (a) A person commits an offense
  if the person knowingly makes a false statement, representation, or
  certification, or knowingly fails to make a statement,
  representation, or certification, in an application, record,
  report, or other document filed or required to be maintained under
  this subchapter or under an order of decision issued by the
  commission under this subchapter.
         (b)  An offense under this section is punishable by:
               (1)  a fine of not more than $10,000;
               (2)  imprisonment for not more than one year; or
               (3)  both the fine and the imprisonment.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter A, Chapter 28A, Water Code, is
  amended by adding Section 28A.002 to read as follows:
         Sec. 28A.002.  APPLICABILITY. This chapter applies only to
  an aggregate production operation that does not include a facility
  for which a permit is required under Chapter 382, Health and Safety
  Code.
         SECTION 3.  (a) The Texas Commission on Environmental
  Quality shall continue to carry out the commission's powers and
  duties that are transferred by this Act until the commission and the
  Railroad Commission of Texas adopt the memorandum of understanding
  required by this section, complete the transfer of the items
  specified in the memorandum, and publicly announce that the
  transfer is complete.
         (b)  The Railroad Commission of Texas and the Texas
  Commission on Environmental Quality shall enter into a memorandum
  of understanding that:
               (1)  identifies in detail the applicable powers and
  duties that are transferred by this Act;
               (2)  establishes a plan for the identification and
  transfer of any records, personnel, property, and unspent
  appropriations of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  that are used solely for purposes of the powers and duties that are
  transferred by this Act; and
               (3)  establishes a plan for the transfer of any pending
  applications, hearings, rulemaking proceedings, and orders
  relating to the powers and duties that are transferred by this Act.
         (c)  The executive directors of the Railroad Commission of
  Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality may agree
  in the memorandum of understanding under this section to transfer
  to the Railroad Commission of Texas any personnel of the Texas
  Commission on Environmental Quality whose functions predominantly
  involve powers and duties related to the powers and duties that are
  transferred by this Act.
         (d)  A rule, form, policy, procedure, or decision of the
  Texas Commission on Environmental Quality related to a power or
  duty transferred under this Act continues in effect as a rule, form,
  policy, procedure, or decision of the Railroad Commission of Texas
  and remains in effect until amended or replaced by that agency.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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