Bill Text: TX HB291 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the regulation of certain aggregate production operations by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; authorizing an increase in the amount of a fee.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-04-19 - Left pending in committee [HB291 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB291-Introduced.html
  87R2004 JXC-D
 
  By: Murr H.B. No. 291
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation of certain aggregate production
  operations by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality;
  authorizing an increase in the amount of a fee.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 28A, Water Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter D to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER D. RECLAMATION
         Sec. 28A.151.  APPLICABILITY. This subchapter applies only
  to an aggregate production operation:
               (1)  that is first required to be registered on or after
  January 1, 2016; and
               (2)  the site of which:
                     (A)  occupies at least 10 acres; and
                     (B)  is located inside the boundaries or
  extraterritorial jurisdiction of a municipality.
         Sec. 28A.152.  REGISTRATION. (a)  The initial application
  filed by the responsible party for the registration of an aggregate
  production operation, or the first renewal application filed after
  September 1, 2021, in the case of an aggregate production operation
  that was first required to be registered before that date, must:
               (1)  include a reclamation plan that complies with
  Section 28A.154; and
               (2)  be accompanied by a performance bond that complies
  with Section 28A.155.
         (b)  If the reclamation plan is amended, the first renewal
  application for registration filed by the responsible party after
  the date the plan is amended must include the amended plan.
         (c)  Notwithstanding Section 28A.051(b), the requirements of
  this subchapter apply to an aggregate production operation until
  the commission determines that the responsible party has
  successfully complied with all reclamation requirements of this
  subchapter and the reclamation plan.
         Sec. 28A.153.  REGISTRATION FEE. Notwithstanding Section
  28A.101(b), the commission shall set the fee for an initial or
  renewal application for the registration of an aggregate production
  operation that is required to include a reclamation plan in an
  amount not to exceed $1,900.
         Sec. 28A.154.  RECLAMATION REQUIREMENTS. (a)  A reclamation
  plan must:
               (1)  specify which parts of the aggregate production
  operation will be reclaimed for forest, pasture, crop,
  horticultural, homesite, recreational, industrial, or other uses,
  including use by wildlife for food, shelter, or ground cover;
               (2)  require any ridge or peak of overburden created by
  surface mining to be graded to a rolling topography traversable by
  machines and equipment customarily used in connection with the use
  to be made of the land after reclamation, except that:
                     (A)  the slope of a ridge or peak of overburden is
  not required to be reduced to a grade less than the original grade
  of the area before mining; and
                     (B)  the slope of the ridge of overburden
  resulting from a box cut is not required to be reduced to less than
  25 degrees from the horizontal;
               (3)  if the extraction activities have exposed the face
  of a mineral seam in which significant concentrations of
  acid-forming materials are present, require the operator to cover
  the exposed face of the seam:
                     (A)  to a depth of not less than three feet with
  earth that will support plant life; or
                     (B)  with a permanent water impoundment;
               (4)  require the operator to grade down the bank of any
  pit or depression created by the removal of aggregates by surface
  mining to a degree of slope determined in accordance with
  commission rules, taking into consideration:
                     (A)  the natural topography of the land affected
  by the extraction activities and of the adjacent land;
                     (B)  the composition of the bank; and
                     (C)  the most beneficial use of the pit or
  depression after reclamation;
               (5)  require that all land affected by the extraction
  activities, except land that is to be covered with water or used for
  homesite or industrial purposes, be revegetated by the planting of
  seeds, trees, shrubs, or other plantings that are appropriate to
  the use to be made of the land after reclamation as determined by
  the operator; and
               (6)  require that all mining equipment, including
  dredges, drag lines, crushers, screens, conveyors, on-site mining
  vehicles, haul trucks, and loaders, be removed from the site.
         (b)  Subsection (a)(2) does not apply to a surface mining
  operation conducted in an area that is in the floodplain of a river
  or stream and is subject to periodic flooding.
         (c)  A reclamation plan may allow an operator to construct an
  earthen dam for the purpose of forming a lake in a pit that results
  from surface mining operations if the formation of the lake does
  not:
               (1)  interfere with another mining operation; or
               (2)  damage the property of another person.
         (d)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a)(4), if the pit or
  depression created by the removal of aggregates by surface mining
  is deeper than 10 feet, the reclamation plan may allow the operator
  to bench the highwall as long as the benches do not exceed 10 feet in
  height.
         (e)  The commission by rule may prescribe the required
  density of planting for purposes of Subsection (a)(5) and, if the
  operator elects to reclaim in stages different parts of the
  aggregate production operation as extraction activities on those
  parts cease, may require replanting of those parts as necessary
  before planting of the entire operation is completed.
         (f)  Notwithstanding Subsections (a)(5) and (e), planting is
  not required on land affected by extraction activities at an
  aggregate production operation if the chemical and physical
  characteristics of the soil of the land are so toxic or deficient in
  plant nutrients, or the soil of the land is composed of sand,
  gravel, shale, or stone to such an extent, as to seriously inhibit
  plant growth.
         (g)  Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, an
  operator must complete all required grading not later than six
  months after extraction activities at the aggregate production
  operation cease. If the operator is unable to complete the required
  grading by the deadline because of weather conditions, the
  commission shall grant the operator an extension of time until
  weather conditions permit completion of the required grading.
         (h)  Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, an
  operator must begin planting seeds, trees, shrubs, or other
  plantings on the land affected by extraction activities at the
  aggregate production operation at the first appropriate time after
  completion of the required grading. If the operator is unable to
  acquire sufficient planting stock of appropriate species from local
  nurseries or to acquire sufficient stock from other sources at
  comparable prices, the commission shall grant the operator an
  extension of time until sufficient stock at such prices is
  available to plant the land in accordance with the reclamation
  plan.
         Sec. 28A.155.  PERFORMANCE BOND. (a)  A performance bond
  must:
               (1)  be payable to this state and conditioned on the
  faithful performance of the requirements of this subchapter and the
  reclamation plan;
               (2)  cover the area to be affected by the extraction
  activities at the aggregate production operation;
               (3)  be in an amount equal to $2,500 for each acre to be
  affected by the extraction activities at the aggregate production
  operation; and
               (4)  be executed by the responsible party and a
  corporate surety licensed to do business in this state.
         (b)  Liability under a performance bond is for the duration
  of the activities at the aggregate production operation, including
  the activities necessary and incidental to the reclamation of the
  land affected by the extraction activities at the operation.
         (c)  The commission may release all or part of a performance
  bond if the commission is satisfied that the reclamation covered by
  the bond or part of the reclamation, as applicable, has been
  accomplished as required by this subchapter and the reclamation
  plan.
         (d)  The commission shall declare a performance bond
  forfeited if the operator fails to comply with the requirements of
  this subchapter or the reclamation plan.
         Sec. 28A.156.  INSPECTION BY COMMISSION. The commission may
  periodically inspect an aggregate production operation after
  extraction activities at the operation have ceased to verify that
  the operator is complying with the requirements of this subchapter
  and the reclamation plan.
         Sec. 28A.157.  NOTICE OF COMPLETION OF RECLAMATION;
  INSPECTION AND DETERMINATION BY COMMISSION. (a)  After reclamation
  activities at an aggregate production operation have been
  accomplished as required by this subchapter and the reclamation
  plan, the operator shall notify the commission in writing that the
  activities have been completed.
         (b)  The commission shall inspect the aggregate production
  operation to determine whether the operator has completed
  reclamation of the operation as required by this subchapter and the
  reclamation plan. If the commission determines that the
  reclamation of the aggregate production operation has been
  completed as required by this subchapter and the reclamation plan:
               (1)  the commission shall release any remaining part of
  the performance bond; and
               (2)  the requirements of this subchapter are no longer
  applicable to the operation.
         Sec. 28A.158.  WAIVER BY MUNICIPALITY OF RECLAMATION
  REQUIREMENTS. (a)  If the reclamation activities required by a
  reclamation plan conflict with a potential reasonable future use of
  the aggregate production operation on cessation of extraction
  activities at the operation, the responsible party may submit a
  proposal to the governing body of the municipality inside the
  boundaries or extraterritorial jurisdiction of which the operation
  is located to amend the plan.
         (b)  The governing body of the municipality shall approve the
  proposed amendment to the reclamation plan if, after a public
  meeting on the proposal, the governing body determines that the
  proposed amendment appears to be in the best interest of the
  municipality, the county in which the aggregate production
  operation is located, and this state.
         (c)  If the governing body of the municipality approves the
  proposed amendment to the reclamation plan, the governing body
  shall notify the responsible party and the commission. The
  commission shall give effect to the proposed amendment to the plan
  and shall release all or part of the performance bond, as
  applicable.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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