Bill Text: TX HB509 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


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

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-08 - Left pending in committee [HB509 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB509-Introduced.html
  86R2617 JXC-D
 
  By: Wilson H.B. No. 509
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation of 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)  "Aggregate production operation" means an
  extraction operation at an aggregate production operation site
  described by Section 28A.001(1), Water Code.
               (2)  "Commission" means the Railroad Commission of
  Texas.
  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.
         Sec. 135.0053.  COORDINATION BETWEEN AGENCIES. (a) To
  avoid duplication, the commission shall establish a process for
  coordinating the review and issuance of permits under this chapter
  for aggregate production operations with the review and issuance of
  any other federal or state authorizations required for the proposed
  operations.
         (b)  In cooperation with the appropriate units of local
  government and other state agencies, the commission shall
  coordinate and streamline procedures under this chapter to the
  extent possible.
         (c)  The commission may enter into a memorandum of
  understanding with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,
  the Texas Department of Transportation, or another state agency to
  implement and administer this chapter or other state law applicable
  to aggregate production operations.
  SUBCHAPTER C. PERMIT
         Sec. 135.0101.  PERMIT REQUIRED. A person may not conduct an
  aggregate production operation in this state without first
  obtaining a permit for that operation from the commission under
  this chapter.
         Sec. 135.0102.  CONTENTS OF PERMIT APPLICATION.  A permit
  application must be submitted in a manner satisfactory to the
  commission and must contain:
               (1)  the name and address of:
                     (A)  the applicant;
                     (B)  each owner of record of the property from
  which aggregates are to be produced;
                     (C)  each holder of record of any leasehold
  interest in the property;
                     (D)  the purchaser of record of the property under
  a real estate contract;
                     (E)  the operator if the operator is not the
  applicant;
                     (F)  the principals, officers, and resident agent
  of a person described by Paragraph (A), (B), (C), (D), or (E) if the
  person is a business entity other than a sole proprietor; and
                     (G)  the owners of record of the property
  adjoining the permit area;
               (2)  additional information about ownership and
  management of the applicant or operator if required by commission
  rule;
               (3)  a copy of the notice required by Section 135.0106;
               (4)  a description of:
                     (A)  the type and method of the existing or
  proposed aggregate production operation;
                     (B)  the engineering techniques proposed or in
  use; and
                     (C)  the equipment in use or proposed to be used;
               (5)  the anticipated or actual starting and termination
  dates of each phase of the aggregate production operation and
  number of acres of land to be affected;
               (6)  an accurate map or plan, to an appropriate scale,
  clearly showing:
                     (A)  the land to be affected as of the date of the
  application; and
                     (B)  the area of land in the permit area on which
  the applicant has the right to enter and begin aggregate production
  operations;
               (7)  the documents on which the applicant bases the
  applicant's right to enter and begin aggregate production
  operations on the affected area, including documentation of any
  required permit, license, safety certificate, registration, or
  other authorization issued by a federal agency, the Texas
  Commission on Environmental Quality, another state agency, or a
  political subdivision;
               (8)  a statement of whether the applicant's right to
  enter and begin aggregate production operations on the affected
  area is the subject of pending court litigation;
               (9)  a plan for constructing acceleration and
  deceleration lanes for egress from and ingress to the aggregate
  production operation to protect public safety;
               (10)  a description of the types of property
  surrounding the permit area and potential impacts of the aggregate
  production operation on any residents of the surrounding area;
               (11)  the distance of the permit area from the closest
  residential area;
               (12)  a description of the potential impacts of the
  aggregate production operation on the local economy near the permit
  area; and
               (13)  other data and maps the commission requires by
  rule.
         Sec. 135.0103.  ADDITIONAL PERMIT APPLICATION CONTENTS;
  HYDROLOGY ASSESSMENT.  (a)  In addition to the content required
  under Section 135.0102, a permit application must contain:
               (1)  the name of the watershed and location of the
  surface streams or tributaries into which surface and pit drainage
  will be discharged;
               (2)  a determination of the probable hydrologic
  consequences of the aggregate production operation, if any, both on
  and off the site, with respect to the hydrologic regime and the
  quantity and quality of water in surface-water systems and
  groundwater systems, including the dissolved and suspended solids
  under seasonal flow conditions; and
               (3)  sufficient data on the site and surrounding area
  for the commission to assess the probable cumulative impacts of all
  anticipated aggregate production operations in the area on the
  hydrology of the area, particularly on water availability.
         (b)  An applicant may submit the information and
  determination required to be included with a permit application
  under Subsection (a) separately from the other components of the
  application if information on the hydrology of the area is not
  available from the appropriate state agencies or political
  subdivisions at the time the other components are submitted.  A
  permit may not be approved until the information and determination
  required to be included with a permit application under Subsection
  (a) have been submitted to the commission.
         (c)  After receiving a complete permit application, the
  commission, in collaboration with the Texas Commission on
  Environmental Quality and any political subdivisions with relevant
  jurisdiction, shall:
               (1)  assess the applicant's hydrologic determination
  made under Subsection (a)(2);
               (2)  assess the probable cumulative impact that all
  anticipated aggregate production operations in the area will have
  on the hydrologic balance, using the information provided by the
  applicant under this section and any other information; and
               (3)  determine whether the operation proposed in the
  application has been designed to prevent material damage to the
  hydrologic balance outside the permit area.
         Sec. 135.0104.  APPLICATION FEES. (a) An application for an
  aggregate production operation permit or for revision of a permit
  must be accompanied by an application fee determined by the
  commission in accordance with a published fee schedule. The
  commission shall base the application fee as nearly as possible on
  the actual or anticipated cost of reviewing the application.
         (b)  The application fee may not be less than:
               (1)  $5,000 for an initial permit; or
               (2)  $500 for revision of a permit.
         Sec. 135.0105.  PUBLIC INSPECTION OF APPLICATION. (a) An
  applicant for an aggregate production operation permit shall file a
  copy of the application for public inspection with the county clerk
  of the county in which the production is proposed to occur.
         (b)  Copies of any records, reports, inspection materials,
  or information obtained under this chapter by the commission shall
  be made immediately available to the public at central and
  sufficient locations in the area of aggregate production so that
  they are conveniently available to residents in that area.
         Sec. 135.0106.  PUBLIC NOTICE BY APPLICANT. At the time the
  applicant submits a complete application for an aggregate
  production operation permit, the applicant shall publish an
  advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality
  of the proposed aggregate production operation at least once a week
  for four consecutive weeks that:
               (1)  shows the ownership and describes the location and
  boundaries of the proposed site sufficiently so that the proposed
  operation can be readily located; and
               (2)  states that the application is available for
  public inspection at the county courthouse of the county in which
  the property lies.
         Sec. 135.0107.  NOTIFICATION OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. (a)
  The commission shall send notice of a permit application to
  planning agencies, sewage and water treatment authorities, special
  districts with jurisdiction over water, municipalities, and any
  other political subdivisions with relevant jurisdiction in the
  locality of the proposed site.
         (b)  The notice must indicate the application number and the
  county courthouse in which a copy of the application can be
  inspected.
         (c)  To facilitate the commission's evaluation of the permit
  application content required under Section 135.0102(7), the
  commission shall include with the notice a request for the
  recipient of the notice to provide to the commission in a timely
  manner information on any authorizations or other documents that
  the applicant is required to obtain from the recipient before
  beginning the aggregate production operation.
         Sec. 135.0108.  COMMENTS ON LOCAL EFFECTS; OBJECTIONS.  (a)
  During a period established by the commission, a federal or state
  agency, a political subdivision, or any other affected person may
  submit to the commission written comments on the potential effects
  of the proposed aggregate production operation on the environment
  or economy of the locality of the operation.
         (b)  Not later than the 30th day after the date of the last
  publication of notice under Section 135.0106, a federal or state
  agency, a political subdivision, or any other affected person may
  submit to the commission written objections to the proposed
  aggregate production operation.
         (c)  The commission shall:
               (1)  immediately send the comments and objections to
  the applicant; and
               (2)  make the comments and objections available to the
  public at the same location as the aggregate production operation
  permit application.
         Sec. 135.0109.  REQUEST FOR PUBLIC HEARING; NOTICE. (a) Not
  later than the 45th day after the date of the last publication of
  notice under Section 135.0106, the applicant or an affected person
  may request a hearing on the application. The hearing shall be held
  not later than the 30th day after the date the commission receives
  the request.
         (b)  The commission shall publish notice of the date, time,
  and location of the public hearing in a local newspaper of general
  circulation in the locality of the proposed aggregate production
  operation at least once a week for three consecutive weeks before
  the scheduled hearing date.
         Sec. 135.0110.  PROCEDURE. Chapter 2001, Government Code,
  applies to a permit application under this chapter. Notice of
  hearing and appeal is governed by that chapter, except as provided
  by Section 135.0109.
         Sec. 135.0111.  NOTICE OF APPROVAL OR DENIAL. (a)  The
  commission shall notify the applicant and each person who submitted
  an objection under Section 135.0108 that the permit application has
  been approved or denied:
               (1)  within the time provided by Chapter 2001,
  Government Code, if a public hearing is held under Section
  135.0109; or
               (2)  not later than the 45th day after the date of the
  last publication of notice of application if a public hearing is not
  held.
         (b)  The notice provided to the applicant under this section
  must be written.
         Sec. 135.0112.  PERMIT APPROVAL OR DENIAL. (a) On the basis
  of a complete application for an aggregate production operation
  permit or a revision of a permit, as required by this chapter, the
  commission shall approve, require modification of, or deny a permit
  application.
         (b)  An applicant for a permit or a permit revision has the
  burden of establishing that the application complies with this
  chapter.
         (c)  Not later than the 10th day after the date the
  commission issues a permit, the commission shall notify the county
  judge in each county in which the land to be affected is located
  that a permit has been issued and shall describe the location of the
  land.
         (d)  The commission may deny a permit based on:
               (1)  a violation by the applicant of a provision of this
  chapter or a commission rule adopted under this chapter;
               (2)  a finding by another state agency that the
  applicant has violated a law or rule administered by that agency
  related to the proposed aggregate production operation;
               (3)  the failure of the applicant to obtain an
  authorization or document that the applicant is required to obtain
  from a federal or state agency or a political subdivision before
  beginning the aggregate production operation;
               (4)  a determination made under Section 135.0103(c)
  that the operation has not been designed to prevent material damage
  to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area;
               (5)  a comment or objection submitted under Section
  135.0108; or
               (6)  testimony given in a public hearing held under
  Section 135.0109.
         Sec. 135.0113.  WRITTEN FINDINGS REQUIRED. The commission
  may not approve an application for a permit or a permit revision
  unless it finds, in writing, using the information in the
  application or information otherwise available that will be
  documented in the approval and made available to the applicant,
  that:
               (1)  the application is accurate and complete and
  complies with this chapter; and
               (2)  the commission has determined under Section
  135.0103(c) that the proposed operation has been designed to
  prevent material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the
  permit area.
         Sec. 135.0114.  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)  The rules must require that, except for incidental
  boundary changes, a permit revision that involves extending the
  aggregate production operation beyond the boundaries authorized in
  the permit meet all standards applicable to a new permit
  application under this chapter.
         Sec. 135.0115.  WAIVER FOR CERTAIN OPERATIONS. (a)  Except
  as provided by Subsection (b), the requirements of this chapter are
  waived for an aggregate production operation that, on August 31,
  2019:
               (1)  is registered with the Texas Commission on
  Environmental Quality under Chapter 28A, Water Code; and
               (2)  has all permits, licenses, safety certificates,
  registrations, or other authorizations required by law for the
  operation of an aggregate production operation, including permits
  issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under
  Chapter 382, Health and Safety Code.
         (b)  The commission by rule shall require that a person
  operating an aggregate production operation described by
  Subsection (a): 
               (1)  notify the commission of any significant changes
  in a condition that would have been evaluated as part of a permit
  application process if the operation had been required to obtain a
  permit under this chapter; and
               (2)  obtain a permit under this chapter if the
  commission determines that it is appropriate to require a permit.
         (c)  The commission, in consultation with the Texas
  Commission on Environmental Quality, shall publish a list of
  aggregate production operations that qualify for a waiver under
  this section and update the publication as necessary to provide
  information on permits issued under Subsection (b).
  SUBCHAPTER D. ENFORCEMENT
         Sec. 135.0151.  CIVIL OR ADMINISTRATIVE ENFORCEMENT.
  Subchapter H, Chapter 134, applies to the civil or administrative
  enforcement of this chapter or a rule, order, or permit adopted or
  issued under this chapter in the same manner as that subchapter
  applies to the civil or administrative enforcement of that chapter
  or a rule, order, or permit adopted or issued under that chapter.
         Sec. 135.0152.  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
  chapter or does not comply with an order issued under this chapter,
  except an order incorporated in a decision issued by the commission
  under Section 134.175, as applicable under Section 135.0151.
         (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. 135.0153.  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 chapter or under an order of decision issued by the commission
  under this chapter.
         (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.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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