Legislative Update, Stacey Steinbach, TAGD

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  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • declared the preservation and conservation of the state’s natural resources to be the duty of the state, and authorized the legislature to pass all laws necessary to achieve those ends.
  • Legislative Update, Stacey Steinbach, TAGD

    1. 1. Legislative UpdateStacey A. SteinbachTexas Alliance of Groundwater DistrictsTAGD Quarterly MeetingMay 29, 2013
    2. 2. A Marathon, Not a Sprint
    3. 3. Major Groundwater IssuesRelevant Bills that SurvivedWhat Next?
    4. 4. Major Groundwater Issues• Long-term permitting• Desalination and aquifer storage and recovery• Oil and gas groundwater exemptions• Other recurring issues
    5. 5. Long-Term Permitting• Issue raised by three regional water providerswanting permitting certainty and improved abilityto secure long-term funding• Bills filed for past three sessions• Rep. Isaac, Rep. Martinez-Fischer, and Sen. Uresti
    6. 6. Long-Term Permitting• Three major components:– Automatic renewals if no conditions change (GCDsets permit term length)– GCDs can open up permits at any time but only whencertain conditions change; GCD has burden of proof– GCDs cannot implement cutbacks arbitrarily
    7. 7. Long-Term Permitting• Unanswered questions:– Is list of “changed conditions” sufficient?• Conditions look to future only• Private property interests– Implementing cutbacks based on well classificationsystem– Operating v. transfer permits
    8. 8. Desalination Legislation• Session theme: Definition of brackishgroundwater as water with a TDS level of >1,000 mg/L TDS• Original bills would have either:– Eliminated GCD jurisdiction over brackishgroundwater– Prohibited management unless TWDB model rulesadopted
    9. 9. Desalination Legislation• All or most of the groundwater insome GCDs would be consideredbrackish• Groundwater salinity falls on acontinuum• Implies brackish groundwater notworthy of same protections• Most MAGs do not distinguish basedon TDS level• How is the TDS level determined?• Who determines the TDS level?• What if the level changes duringproduction?• “Desirability” of water is not basedsolely on TDSBrackish Groundwater as a TDS Level
    10. 10. CSHB 2578• “Brackish Groundwater Production Zones”– Identified by TWDB with input from GCDs/stakeholders– Must be “sufficiently separated” from groundwater currentlyused for water supply• 30-year permit terms• Unlimited production unless evidence of impacts; mustget report from TWDB before implementing cutbacks
    11. 11. Aquifer Storage and Recovery• Considered separately from desalination legislation• Concerns about protection of groundwater quality• GCDs could be required to "protect” ASRoperator, possibly at groundwater users’ expense• Requirement to adopt one-size-fits-all TWDB modelrules
    12. 12. Oil & Gas Groundwater Exemptions• 36.117(b)(2): solely to supply water for a rig that is actively engaged indrilling or exploration operations for an oil or gas well..• Language negotiated among stakeholders in 2001; intended toencourage “wildcatting” in areas where drilling/exploration took morerisk• Negotiation included language that GCD cannot deny permit forgroundwater withdrawals related to hydrocarbon production
    13. 13. Oil & Gas Groundwater Exemptions• Oil and gas position:– hydraulic fracturing is exploration– No time to get permit; money lost every day• TAGD position:– hydraulic fracturing is production– Exemption did not contemplate hydraulic fracturing– users of significant amounts of groundwater should not receivespecial treatment based on use
    14. 14. SB 873 Evolution• Originally authorized GCD to require a permit for hydraulicfracturing• In response to O&G concerns, idea of “interim permit”surfaced• Bill that reached the House included interim permitconcept so drilling could begin immediately; permit wouldthen be processed in accordance with (uniformly applied)GCD rules
    15. 15. Other Recurring Issues• SBs 272 (reporting) and 302 (DFCs inmanagement plan)• DFC appeal process• Attorney’s fees provisions• Standard of review of GCD actions
    16. 16. Major Groundwater IssuesRelevant Bills that SurvivedWhat Next?
    17. 17. Groundwater-Related Bills• HB 1563: fees of office for GCD Board• SB 1282: DFC proposal deadline extended• SB 1093:– Fixes a typographical error in section 36.205(e)– Resolves 36.121 issue from 82nd Legislature• HB 1026: codifies GCD enabling legislation in SpecialDistrict Local Laws Code
    18. 18. Local Groundwater BillsNew/Revived GCDs:– Calhoun County GCD– Reeves County GCD– Deep East Texas GCD(Shelby, SanAugustine, and Sabine)Local GCD Bills:– Duval County GCD– Hays Trinity GCD– Central Texas GCD– McMullen GCD
    19. 19. State Water Plan Funding• HB 4:– creates SWIF and SWIRF– Changes TWDB structure– Requires 20% to conservation and reuse and 10% to rural areas oragricultural water conservation– Requires prioritization of projects• HB 1025: appropriates $2 billion from Rainy Day Fundfor SWIF and SWIRF• SJR 1: constitutional amendment to approve ↑
    20. 20. Water Conservation• SB 1: Appropriations– $1 million in FY 2014 for water conservation grants– $1.8 million/year in FYs 2014 and 2015 to TAWC forOgallala demonstration project– $1.5 million/year in FYs 2014 and 2015 to GCDs foragricultural water conservation (GCD must requiremeters; funds offset 50% of meter costs)
    21. 21. Water Conservation• HB 857: annual water loss audit for > 3,300 connections• HB 1461: notification of water loss to customers• HB 2615: penalties for failure to comply with water usereporting requirements• HB 2781: rainwater harvesting systems• HB 3604: water conservation and drought contingencyplan implementation
    22. 22. Water Conservation• HB 3605: TWDB funds/mitigation of water loss and waterconservation plan compliance• SB 198: HOAs can’t prohibit xeriscaping• SB 385: municipal/county financing programs to decreasewater/energy consumption on private property• SB 654: municipal enforcement of water conservationmeasures
    23. 23. Open Meetings• HB 2414: General videoconference meetings• SB 293: “Water districts” covering 3 or more countiesmay hold a meeting via telephone or video conferenceif:– Special called meeting,– Immediate action required, and– Quorum difficult to obtain• SB 471: No more betamax
    24. 24. Open Meetings• SB 984: Videoconference meetings when entityis statewide or covers three or more counties• SB 1297: Allows public officials to communicatebetween meetings on governmental bodymessage boards visible to public
    25. 25. Public Information• SB 983: In camera review information at issuein a public information lawsuit• SB 1368: Public information as related tocontracts between non-government entitiesand government entities
    26. 26. Other Bills of Interest• SB 281: Authorizes Red River Authority todevelop groundwater• HB 3509: Endangered species habitatconservation• Elections Code: SB 910 and HB 3103
    27. 27. Major Groundwater IssuesRelevant Bills that SurvivedWhat Next?
    28. 28. What Next?• Education Education Education• Work on consensus language for permittingcertainty, desalination, and oil and gaspermitting• Water quality monitoring
    29. 29. Questions?

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