Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Railroad Commission's Sunset Bill, House Bill 1818 (HB 1818) into law May 22, 2017 reauthorizing the RRC for 12 more years until Sept. 1, 2029. The bill also provides the agency with the authority to assess pipeline safety fees to support its pipeline safety regulatory program; jurisdiction over preventing interstate pipeline damage and a mandate to publish an annual oil and gas monitoring report.
Under this legislation, the RRC's Oil & Gas Division is directed to develop and publish an oil and gas monitoring strategic annual plan each fiscal year to ensure the agency's resources are used to protect public safety and the environment. The RRC is directed to publish this report on its website by July 1, 2017 preceding each state fiscal year.
HB 1818 authorizes the RRC to establish pipeline safety and regulatory fees to support all the agency's pipeline safety and regulatory program costs. The legislation also provides the RRC with jurisdiction over pipeline damage prevention over interstate pipelines that cross state boundaries. Currently, the RRC has jurisdiction over preventing damage on intrastate pipelines that begin and end in the state. The legislation requires all Commission contractors register with and participate in an "E-verify program" to verify employee information.