What is House Bill 40 (84th Legislature, Regular Session)?
House Bill 40 delineates regulatory jurisdiction over oil and gas operations in Texas. It states that municipalities and political subdivisions have the right to enact commercially reasonable regulations for surface activities and that the state, primarily through authority delegated to the Railroad Commission of Texas (Commission), has exclusive jurisdiction over sub-surface activities and oil and gas operations.
HB 40 does not amend Commission rules that are already in place for industry. To read the full text of HB 40, go to Texas Legislature Online at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/pdf/HB00040I.pdf#navpanes=0.
What is the Role of the Commission in Enforcing HB 40?
The Railroad Commission of Texas has no enforcement authority over the legislation contained in HB 40.
The role of the Commission is to ensure industry compliance with all Commission rules and regulations. A list of current rules can be found on the Commission website at: http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/legal/rules/current-rules/.
How Can Municipalities and the Railroad Commission Ensure Responsible Oil and Gas Operations?
Protection of the public and Texas' natural resources is the Commission’s highest priority. The Commission wants to work with cities and industry to ensure safe and responsible oil and gas operations. The Commission and local governments both have important regulatory roles to play.
The Commission continues to strengthen its partnership with local governments so that we can work together on this critically important issue. The citizens of Texas will be best served by us working together on their behalf.
It’s important to note, the Commission has extensive staff expertise that some cities may lack. RRC wants to serve as a resource to provide support to those cities. Local officials are encouraged to contact the Commission with questions or ideas on ways to make improvements.
The Commission believes open dialogue with cities will allow us to effectively address any issues that may arise and allow for the coordination of resources.