The Wise Report

The Wise Report
Henry M. Wise, P.G.
December 25, 2009
The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG) proposes new §§850.100 - 850.105, regarding advisory opinions. These rules are being proposed to allow the Board to issue Advisory Opinions. Section 850.100 addresses subjects of Advisory Opinions and states that the Board shall prepare an Advisory Opinion regarding an interpretation of the Act or as an application of the Act regarding a specified existing or factual situation. Section 850.101 specifies the type of information that should be included on written requests for Advisory Opinions. Section 850.102 allows the Board to issue an Advisory Opinion on its own accord. Section 850.103 details the process for receiving, reviewing and processing requests for Advisory Opinions. Section 850.104 requires the Board to classify, number and compile a summary on the agency website of each final Advisory Opinion issued. Section 850.105 requires the Board to respond to requests for Advisory Opinions within 180 days after the Board receives the written request unless the Board affirmatively states its reason for not responding to the request within the time period or for not responding to the request at all.   For more information go to:
The TBPG proposes new §§851.40 - 851.46 regarding the Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT) program, an amendment to §851.80 concerning fees, and an amendment to §851.106 concerning responsibility to the geoscience profession.
New §851.40 is being proposed to establish a Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT) designation and certification for individuals who meet the necessary education requirements and who have passed an examination on the fundamentals of geosciences. New §851.41 establishes the necessary qualifications for obtaining a GIT certificate, including educational requirements, passing a Board approved examination, a supporting letter of reference, and payment of the application fee. New §851.42 describes the process and submission requirements for GIT application and certification, including submission of the Board approved application, official academic transcripts, one letter of support attesting to the individual's moral character, and payment of the fee as established by the Board. New §851.43 addresses that the GIT certificate may be renewed annually for a period of up to eight years, unless granted at the discretion of the Board. New §851.44 describes the appropriate use of the "Geoscientist-in-Training" or "GIT" title, and that it is not to be used in conjunction with the word "licensed". New §851.45 describes the relationship of the GIT certification to licensure of Professional Geoscientists. New §851.46 describes the ability of the Board to take appropriate disciplinary action including the revocation of a GIT certificate. 
 An amendment to §851.80 is being proposed to establish an initial application fee of $25 and a subsequent annual renewal fee of $25 for a Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT) certificate. Section 851.106 is being amended to require geoscientists to report to the Board any known or suspected violation of the Texas Geoscience Practice Act or Board rules. For more information go to:
The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) adopts amendments to §12.108, relating to Permit Fees for coal or lignite mines, without changes to the version published in the November 6, 2009, issue of the Texas Register (34 TexReg 7744). The amendments implement provisions of Senate Bill 1, 81st Texas Legislature, Regular Session (2009), and, specifically, Article VI, Railroad Commission Rider 10, which makes the amounts appropriated from general revenue for State Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 to cover the cost of permitting and inspecting coal mining facilities contingent upon the RRC assessing fees sufficient to generate, during the 2010-2011 biennium, revenue to cover the general revenue appropriation. 
The RRC amends the fees set forth in subsection (b) as follows. In paragraph (1), the RRC decreases the annual fee for each acre of land within a permit area on which coal or lignite was actually removed during a calendar year from the current $150 to $130. In paragraph (2), the Commission increases the annual fee for each acre of land within a permit area covered by a reclamation bond on December 31st of each year, as shown on the map required at §12.142(2)(C) of this chapter (relating to Operation Plan: Maps and Plans), from the current $3.75 to $5.50. Finally, in paragraph (3), the RRC increases the annual fee for each permit in effect on December 31st of a year from the current $4,200 to $4,250. The RRC anticipates that annual fees at these new amounts will result in revenue of $1,467,500 in each year of the 2010-2011 biennium. 
 Based on a formula and schedule agreed to by the coal mining industry and the RRC in 2005, every two years since 2005, the RRC has adjusted the surface mining fees based on that predetermined formula. This adjustment phases in fee changes based on bonded acreage for each permit as of December 31 of each year. At the same time, the fee for mined acreage correspondingly decreases and a revised annual permit fee is set based on this formula. This adjustment in fees is designed to take place over a ten-year period; this is the third adjustment to the fee schedule.  For more information go to:
Henry M. Wise, P.G.
The Wise Report

Henry M. Wise, P.G.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Government Update