The Wise Report Has Legislation News

Read the Wise Report to get updates on legislation that affects environmental geologists! ...By Henry M. Wise P.G---.December 2018 ----

The Railroad Commission of Texas has released its 2018 Year in Review highlighting the regulatory agency's accomplishments during the past year. The Year in Review reflects significant milestones, exciting changes and a continuing commitment to protecting public safety and our natural resources while maintaining a strong regulatory environment.

During 2018, the Commission conducted hundreds of thousands of inspections, assessed more than $9.2 million in fines on 3,475 enforcement dockets, continued Information Technology modernization efforts, surpassed key legislative performance measures and increased staff training. The 2018 Year in Review details these accomplishments and includes video, photos, infographics and links to additional information. The Year in Review can be found at:

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) proposes amending the Texas Water Code (TWC), §28A.001(1) to add a new exemption to the list of existing exemptions in the definition of "Aggregate production operation" (APO). The exemption applies to a site at which specialty or terrazzo-type stone is removed or extracted from the earth, the material is produced for commercial sale and used exclusively for decorative or artistic uses, and the horizon that is exposed for current production does not exceed five acres.  This amendment implements House Bill (HB) 2582, 85th Texas Legislature, 2017.  More information can be found at

30 TAC §7.119 is being amended to adopt updates to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the TCEQ and the Texas Department of Transportaiton (TxDOT) regarding the review of the potential environmental effect of transportation projects.  The updated MOU removes unnecessary definitions and simplifies the coordination process, so that coordination is only required on transportation projects that require environmental impact statements, supplemental environmental impact statements or environmental assessments.  The TCEQ references the text of the updated MOU between TCEQ and TxDOT found in 43 TAC §§2.301 - 2.308.  Additional information can be found at:

 The State Legislature meets starting January 8, 2019 and bills are already being filed.  New information is listed in bold (two new bills listed):

HB 223, by Reynolds, Relating to the funding through greenhouse gas emissions fees of energy efficiency programs administered by certain utilities; authorizing a fee.  Filed 11/12/2018.  For more information go to:

 HB 225, by Reynolds, Relating to the analysis of inspection and maintenance requirements for air quality permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for certain oil and gas facilities.  Regulates fugitive emissions from all oil field equipment, the use of venting and flaring, etc.  Filed 11/12/2018.

 HB 245, by Farrar, Relating to a requirement to make certain environmental and water use permit applications available online.  "The applicant shall post a copy of the application on a publicly accessible Internet website and provide to the commission the address of that website."  Filed 11/12/2018.

HB 478, by Phelan, Relating to the funding of flood planning, mitigation, and infrastructure projects. Filed 12/6/2018.

HB 481, by Kuempel, Relating to the storage and recovery of water in a portion of the Edwards Aquifer. Filed 12/6/2018.

SB 179, by Miles, Relating to the establishment of a task force to conduct a comprehensive study on flood control infrastructure for Harris County.  Received by the Secretary of the Senate 11/14/2018.

SB 185, by Miles, Relating to the response to certain oil or gas well accidents by state agencies and responsible parties.  An operator of an oil or gas well shall give immediate notice of a fire, leak, spill, or break at the well to the appropriate commission oil and gas division district office and submit to the commision a letter giving a full description of the event, including the volume of crude oil, gas, or other well liquids or gases lost.  Received by the Secretary of the Senate 11/14/2018.