Texas House lawmakers Thursday passed a bill (HB 2767) that is intended to encourage oil and gas operators to conserve and recycle as much as possible the water they use in the energy patch.
The bill was filed by Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford). An analysis of the legislation said "rapid growth of development" of shale plays in the Lone Star state has required large quantities of water for hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas development activities.
"Under current practice, most oil and gas wastewater is disposed of in underground injection wells instead of being treated and reused in drilling and hydro-fracturing activity, according to concerned parties."
The legislation would encourage recycling of waste by streamlining what is viewed as a lengthy permitting process for off-lease wastewater treatment operations. It also seeks to clear up legal ambiguities surrounding the ownership of waste that is transferred to another party for treatment. The bill also would require the Railroad Commission of Texas to govern the treatment and beneficial use of oil and gas waste.
HB 2767 was received by the Senate on Friday.
SB 514 was recently approved and sent to the House where it has been assigned to the Energy Resources Committee. The legislation by Sen Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) is intended to expand the use of pipelines to carry oil and gas waste to disposal wells in order to reduce the number of tanker trucks on Texas roads. Another bill in the committee, SB 873, would clarify that Texas water conservation districts may require permits for fracking-related water wells but are not required to do so.