Bill Text: TX SB152 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the regulation of groundwater conservation districts.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-11-10 - Filed [SB152 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB152-Introduced.html
  87R1323 BRG-F
 
  By: Perry S.B. No. 152
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation of groundwater conservation districts.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 36.066, Water Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (g) and adding Subsection (i) to read as
  follows:
         (g)  If the district prevails in any suit other than a suit in
  which it voluntarily intervenes, the district may seek and the
  court may [shall] grant, in the interests of justice and as provided
  by Subsection (h), in the same action, recovery for attorney's
  fees, costs for expert witnesses, and other costs incurred by the
  district before the court. The amount of the attorney's fees shall
  be fixed by the court.
         (i)  Notwithstanding Section 36.052(a), Subsections (g) and
  (h) of this section prevail over any other special law inconsistent
  with those subsections unless the other law prohibits an award of
  attorney's fees or costs.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter D, Chapter 36, Water Code, is amended
  by adding Section 36.1025 to read as follows:
         Sec. 36.1025.  PETITION TO CHANGE RULES. (a) A person with
  groundwater ownership and rights may petition the district where
  the property that gives rise to the ownership and rights is located
  to adopt a rule or modify a rule adopted under this chapter.
         (b)  A petition submitted under this section must include:
               (1)  an explanation of why the adoption or modification
  of the rule requested is necessary to be consistent with:
                     (A)  ownership and rights recognized under
  Section 36.002; or
                     (B)  conservation or beneficial use of the
  groundwater resources located in the district, in regard to either:
                           (i)  the entire district; or
                           (ii)  an aquifer, subdivision of an aquifer,
  or geologic strata located in the district; and
               (2)  proof that the petitioner has complied with the
  notice requirements described by Subsection (c).
         (c)  A petitioner under this section must provide written
  notice of the petition to each person with groundwater ownership
  and rights in the geographic area that would be affected by the
  adoption or modification of the rule described in the petition.
         (d)  The district may consider the petition at a public
  hearing or a regularly scheduled board meeting.  If a district meets
  quarterly, the district must grant or deny the petition not later
  than the 90th day after the date the district received the petition.
         (e)  After a hearing held under Subsection (d), the district
  shall grant or deny the petition and may grant or deny the petition
  wholly or partly. The district shall provide an explanation for the
  action the district takes on the petition, including a
  determination about the consistency of the action with the concerns
  raised by the petitioner's explanation required by Subsection
  (b)(1).
         (f)  As soon as practicable after a petition or a portion of a
  petition is granted, the district shall engage in rulemaking
  consistent with the granted petition or the granted portion of the
  petition.
         SECTION 3.  Section 36.114(h), Water Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (h)  An application is administratively complete if it
  contains the information set forth under Sections 36.113 and
  36.1131 and, if applicable, the applicant has submitted proof of
  notice required under Section 36.1141. A district shall not require
  that additional information be included in an application for a
  determination of administrative completeness.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter D, Chapter 36, Water Code, is amended
  by adding Section 36.1141 to read as follows:
         Sec. 36.1141.  NOTICE REQUIRED FOR APPLICATION FOR PERMIT OR
  PERMIT AMENDMENT. (a) Not later than the date that a person submits
  an application for a permit or permit amendment to a district, the
  person shall provide notice by certified mail, return receipt
  requested, to each person with a real property interest in the
  groundwater beneath the land within the space prescribed by the
  district's spacing rules for the proposed or existing well.
         (b)  The notice required under Subsection (a) must inform the
  recipient of the notice that the recipient may contest the
  application for the permit or permit amendment.
         (c)  A person who provides notice under Subsection (a) shall
  submit proof of providing the notice with the person's application
  for the permit or permit amendment.
         SECTION 5.  Section 36.415, Water Code, is amended by adding
  Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  For purposes of this section, a person entitled to
  receive notice under Section 36.1141 is considered to have a
  personal justiciable interest described by Subsection (b).
         SECTION 6.  Section 36.066, Water Code, as amended by this
  Act, applies only to a suit involving a groundwater conservation
  district that is filed on or after the effective date of this Act. A
  suit filed before the effective date of this Act is subject to the
  law in effect on the date the suit is filed, and that law is
  continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 7.  Sections 36.114 and 36.415, Water Code, as
  amended by this Act, and Section 36.1141, Water Code, as added by
  this Act, apply only to an application for a permit or permit
  amendment submitted on or after the effective date of this Act. An
  application submitted before the effective date of this Act is
  subject to the law in effect on the date the application is
  submitted, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 8.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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