Legislation filed by Senator Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) and Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) would substantially increase the minimum level of administrative penalties that may be imposed by the Texas Railroad Commission for various permit violations under the Natural Resources and Water Codes. Specifically, SB 1516 and HB 1043 by Anchia:
- Direct the RRC to adopt penalty guidelines after receiving public input. Current law requires the Commission to adopt the guidelines by rule.
- Require the RRC to consider new factors in determining the guidelines: the number of times the permittee’s certificate of compliance has been canceled; any economic benefit gained through the violation; the penalty necessary to deter future violations.
- Raise minimum administrative penalties that may be imposed by the Railroad Commission for: (1) violations of pipeline safety regulations ($10,000 to $25,000); (2) violations related to discriminatory practices by purchasers, sellers, transporters, gatherers, shippers ($5,000 to $25,000); (3) pollution of surface water or subsurface water ($10,000 to $25,000); (4) injection well permit violations ($10,000 to $25,000).
HB 1043 has been referred to the House Energy Resources Committee. SB 1516 is still awaiting referral.