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RRC Sunset Bill Bound For Texas House Floor

The Texas House is expected to discuss the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) Sunset Bill (HB 1818) on Tuesday. As it stands, the bill would reauthorize the commission for 12 years and require it to establish a policy that encourages use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), among other things.

A substitute bill was reported out of the House Energy Committee March 16. Testifying in support of the bill, Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners (TIPRO) President Ed Longanecker said, "As an industry, we understand the importance of the Sunset process and are committed to a common goal of protecting the welfare of Texas citizens while maintaining the ability to explore for and produce oil and natural gas in a responsible manner."

HB 1818 would require the RRC's procedures relating to ADR "...to conform, to the extent possible, to any model guidelines issued by the State Office of Administrative Hearings..." for use by state agencies.

Additionally, the commission's Oil and Gas Division would be required to develop an annual plan to use oil and natural gas monitoring and enforcement resources of the commission. "The bill requires the Railroad Commission to collect and maintain information that accurately shows..." its monitoring and enforcement activities.

The bill would also allow the commission to establish pipeline safety and regulatory fees for permits or registrations under the RRC pipeline safety program.

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