While it's called the Railroad Commission of Texas, it actually deals with regulating oil and gas in the state. A name change could be in the works this legislative session.
Update, May 2, 2013: The Senate Bill passed on the Senate floor today, and now heads to the House.
Original story, April 24, 2013:
SB 212, which would change the name of the Railroad Commission of Texas to the Texas Energy Resources Commission passed out committee today. The bill would also restrict campaign contributions for Commissioners, their ability to run for a different office while overseeing the Commission and institute a pipeline permit fee. There were no amendments. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.
The Railroad Commission wields a big stick in Texas. It regulates the state’s most profitable industry, oil and gas, and all Texans elect its three commissioners. One thing the Railroad Commission doesn’t control, however, is railroads.
Few oppose a more apt title for the agency, but wrapped up in the legislation are also rules restricting campaign contributions for commissioners and their ability to run for a different office while overseeing the commission.
What “we’d like to see changed in the bill are the resign-to-run [provision] and the two ethics financial issues,” relative newcomer Commissioner Christi Craddick said during testimony. “But otherwise I’d like to see this bill move.” Continue Reading →
“There’s often been tension between Texas and Oklahoma. A dispute over the state boundary line dates back nearly 200 years. And for more than a century Texas and OU football teams have clashed in the Red River Rivalry. Tuesday, the latest skirmish goes before the U.S. Supreme Court when the State of Oklahoma and the Tarrant Regional Water District in Fort Worth argue over water rights.”
State lawmakers will discuss whether to recognize the City of Garland at the cowboy hat capital of Texas this week.
Time is winding down at the State Legislature, but the pace is picking up.
We’ve put together a list of some important bills on energy and the environment up for discussion this week. They tackle the Railroad Commission, fracking, drought and more. But they aren’t all serious, a House committee will discuss a slew of honorifics as well.
(The bills are not listed in any particular order, and the list isn’t meant to be comprehensive.)
The bill for the latter, HB 2781, would allow people with a public water supply connection to collect rainwater for potable purposes. People living in rural, unincorporated areas already have that right.
Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, said when he started writing the legislation he didn’t realize he was writing a cleanup bill for legislation passed in the last session. A previous bill, written by Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, who sits on the Natural Resources Committee, was supposed to allow most people to install potable rainwater collection systems, but complications with the language in the bill stopped it short of its original intent.
“It was brought to my attention that the people of Texas weren’t being allowed to use their rainwater at their homes as they saw fit and I just thought it was common sense legislation,” Fletcher said.
A man walks along Lake Travis after water receded during a drought in Austin, Texas September 10, 2011.
It’s crunch time at the Capitol, and legislators have precious little sand left in the hourglass to push bills out of committee. So you’ll see the pace pick up quite a bit in the coming weeks.
We at StateImpact Texas have compiled a not-so-short list of important bills on energy and the environment to help guide you through this period of legislative overload. (While many of the bills are set in groups, they are not listed in any particular order, and the list isn’t meant to be comprehensive.)
SB 4, by Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, would also create a state water implementation fund and restructure the top of the Texas Water Development Board into three-member, full-time board instead of a six-member, part-time board.
Other bills, including one that would expand the water supplies a waste disposal authority could tap and sell to fracking companies, were heard. But Geren’s legislation garnered the most attention this morning.
There's a whole host of bills dealing with energy and environment at the Texas Capitol this week. Check out our handy guide for more.
It’s going to be a busy week at the Capitol for energy and environmental issues. We’ve culled a list of bills that could affect everything from the electrical meter on your house to radioactive waste disposal in West Texas. All of the meetings are open to the public, and you can always watch the House and Senate meetings online.
Smart Meter Opt-Out
Don’t want that new smart meter installed at your house? A bill, SB 241, by Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, could allow customers to opt-out of having a smart meter installed, or if they already have one, allow them to get their smart meter removed, for a “reasonable” fee. The Senate Business and Commerce Committee will discuss the bill Tuesday morning.
Meter Data Privacy
New legislation could limit who has access to the information from your smart meter. The bill, SB 1219, by Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, would continue to give electricity providers and utilities access to your electricity usage data, but third parties would need customer consent to access the data. The Senate Business and Commerce Committee will discuss the bill Tuesday morning.
Solving the energy crunch, renewable power, water rates and more, all after the jump:Continue Reading →
Television cameras and reporters lined the back wall, eager to record the arrival of one of Texas’ more controversial figures. There was a certain fever in the room when Ted Nugent, donning his trademark camouflage cowboy hat, showed up.
Nugent, also known as The Nuge, The Motor City Madman or, simply Uncle Ted, is a rockstar, author, reality-television personality and storied bow hunter. His conservatism and pro-gun stances have earned him almost as much attention as his unpredictable behavior. Lately, he’s been in the spotlight for an apparent habit of making veiled threats against President Obama. Something that earned him intense criticism and at least one visit from the secret service.
But Nugent wasn’t at the capitol Wednesday to talk national politics. He was there to talk hunting, and people were ready for a show. Continue Reading →
Here are some of the more interesting findings from the study:
Map by NOAA
This map shows that temperature have been warmer than normal over the last two years in Texas.
Temperatures and precipitation have diverged from historical norms. The last two years in Texas were the warmest since 1985. And the entire state experienced lower than normal rainfall in that time period, according to the report.
One result of the oppressive weather is a shrinking water supply. Central Texas’ two largest reservoirs, Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan, are at 41 percent capacity, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority, LCRA, website. Those low levels aren’t likely to improve much in the coming months, as the NOAA outlook anticipates warmer and drier weather through June.
David Barer is a reporting intern for StateImpact Texas.
Check out our list of what to watch for on the issues of energy and environment at the Capitol this week.
We’ve compiled a list of several important meetings coming up this week at the state legislature that could have an impact on Texas’ energy and environment. Find out when the lege will tackle new bills that could affect everything from the concrete casing on oil wells to space flights near the beach: