Under legislation filed by Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), the Texas Railroad Commission would have authority to impose higher administrative and civil penalties. SB 900 raises the current $10,000 per day penalty for a violation of a Railroad Commission order or permit related to pollution control to $25,000 per day for a violation not related to pipeline safety, and $200,000 per day for a violation related to pipeline safety.
The bill also raises penalties for specific activities. For a violation of a rule or permit related to carbon dioxide or hazardous liquid pipeline, the civil penalty is increased from $50 to $25,000 for each violation and each day of violation to $500 to $200,000. It also raises the maximum criminal penalty for an offense related to hazardous pipeline safety from $25,000 to $2 million. Finally, the bill specifies similar increases in penalties for violations related to gas pipelines. SB 900 addresses deficiencies in RRC funding for pipeline monitoring and safety identified by the Sunset Advisory Commission.