TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

TITLE 3. OIL AND GAS

SUBTITLE A. ADMINISTRATION

CHAPTER 141. GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES

SUBCHAPTER B. POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE RAILROAD COMMISSION



§ 141.011. GENERAL DUTY OF THE RAILROAD COMMISSION.
     Except for duties and responsibilities given to other
      agencies and officials under this chapter, the commission shall regulate the exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy and associated resources on public and private land for the purpose of conservation and the protection of correlative rights.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2641, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977.

§ 141.012. RULES.
     (a) The commission, in consultation with the commissioner and the executive director of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, shall make, publish, and enforce rules providing for the rapid and orderly exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy and associated resources and to accomplish the purposes of this chapter.
     (b) The rules made under this section shall include rules governing:
          (1) protection of the environment against damage resulting from the exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy and associated resources;
          (2) prevention of waste of natural resources, including geothermal energy and associated resources, in connection with the exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy and associated resources;
          (3) protection of the general public against injury or damage resulting from the exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy and associated resources; and
          (4) protection of correlative rights against infringement resulting from the exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy and associated resources.
     (c) Rules shall be made and enforced only after a public hearing.

Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2641, ch. 871, art. I, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1977. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 11.276, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 141.013. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY.
     (a) If a person violates provisions of this title which pertain to safety or the prevention or control of pollution or the provisions of a rule, order, license, permit, or certificate which pertain to safety or the prevention or control of pollution and are issued under this title, the person may be assessed a civil penalty by the commission.
     (b) The penalty may not exceed $10,000 a day for each violation. Each day a violation continues may be considered a separate violation for purposes of penalty assessments.
     (c) In determining the amount of the penalty, the commission shall consider the person's history of previous violations of this subchapter or the rules, the seriousness of the violation, any hazard to the health or safety of the public, and the demonstrated good faith of the person.

Added by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 1419, ch. 286, § 6, eff. Aug. 29, 1983.

§ 141.014. PENALTY ASSESSMENT PROCEDURE.
     (a) A civil penalty may be assessed only after the person charged with a violation described under Section 141.013 of this code has been given an opportunity for a public hearing.
     (b) If a public hearing has been held, the commission shall make findings of fact, and it shall issue a written decision as to the occurrence of the violation and the amount of the penalty that is warranted, incorporating, when appropriate, an order requiring that the penalty be paid.
     (c) If appropriate, the commission shall consolidate the hearings with other proceedings.
     (d) If the person charged with the violation fails to avail himself of the opportunity for a public hearing, a civil penalty may be assessed by the commission after it has determined that a violation did occur and the amount of the penalty that is warranted.
     (e) The commission shall then issue an order requiring that the penalty be paid.

Added by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 1419, ch. 286, § 6, eff. Aug. 29, 1983.

§ 141.015. PAYMENT OF PENALTY;
     REFUND.
     (a) On the issuance of an order finding that a violation has occurred, the commission shall inform the permittee and any other person charged within 30 days of the amount of the penalty.
     (b) Within the 30-day period immediately following the day on which the decision or order is final as provided in Subchapter F, Chapter 2001, Government Code, the person charged with the penalty shall:
          (1) pay the penalty in full; or
          (2) if the person seeks judicial review of either the amount of the penalty or the fact of the violation, or both:
               (A) forward the amount to the commission for placement in an escrow account; or
               (B) in lieu of payment into escrow, post a supersedeas bond with the commission under the following conditions. If the decision or order being appealed is the first final commission decision or order assessing any administrative penalty against the person, the commission shall accept a supersedeas bond. In the case of appeal of any subsequent decision or order assessing any administrative penalty against the person, regardless of the finality of judicial review of any previous decision or order, the commission may accept a supersedeas bond. Each supersedeas bond shall be for the amount of the penalty and in a form approved by the commission and shall stay the collection of the penalty until all judicial review of the decision or order is final.
     (c) If through judicial review of the decision or order it is determined that no violation occurred or that the amount of the penalty should be reduced or not assessed, the commission shall, within the 30-day period immediately following that determination, if the penalty has been paid to the commission, remit the appropriate amount to the person, with accrued interest, or where a supersedeas bond has been posted, the commission shall execute a release of such bond.
     (d) Failure to forward the money to the commission within the time provided by Subsection (b) of this section results in a waiver of all legal rights to contest the violation or the amount of the penalty.
     (e) Judicial review of the order or decision of the commission assessing the penalty shall be under the substantial evidence rule and shall be instituted by filing a petition with the district court of Travis County, Texas, and not elsewhere, as provided for in Subchapter G, Chapter 2001, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 1419, ch. 286, § 6, eff. Aug. 29, 1983. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 5.95(53), (59), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 141.016. RECOVERY OF PENALTY.
     Civil penalties owed under Sections 141.013-141.015 of this code may be recovered in a civil action brought by the attorney general at the request of the commission.

Added by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 1419, ch. 286, § 6, eff. Aug. 29, 1983.

§ 141.018. ACCESS TO PROPERTY.
     Members and employees of the commission, on proper identification, may enter public or private property to inspect and investigate conditions relating to the exploration, development, and production of geothermal energy, to monitor compliance with a rule, permit, or other order of the commission, or to examine and copy, during reasonable working hours, those records or memoranda of the business being investigated. Members or employees acting under the authority of this section who enter an establishment on public or private property shall observe the establishment's safety, internal security, and fire protection rules.

Added by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 5263, ch. 967, § 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1983. Renumbered from § 141.013 by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, § 5.01(a)(33), eff. Sept. 1, 1987.