HBA-CBW C.S.H.B. 3587 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 3587 By: Walker Natural Resources 4/10/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current law, water wells that produce less than 25,000 gallons of water per day are exempt from the groundwater conservation district (district) permitting process. This broad exemption may be interfering with the ability of some districts to properly manage groundwater resources. C.S.H.B. 3587 reduces the scope of this permitting process exemption to include only certain water wells capable of producing less than 25,000 gallons of water per day. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 3587 amends the Water Code to prohibit a groundwater conservation district (district) from requiring any permit issued by the district for the following: _a well on a tract of land larger than 10 acres if the well is drilled, completed, or equipped so that it is incapable of producing more than 25,000 gallons of groundwater a day and if the water produced or to be produced from the well is used or to be used for domestic purposes or to provide water for livestock or poultry; _the drilling of a water well to supply water solely for a drilling rig that is actively engaged in drilling or exploration operations permitted by the Railroad Commission of Texas (commission) under certain conditions; _the drilling of a well or to restrict the production of a well if the water produced or to be produced is necessary or will be necessary for mining purposes permitted by the commission under the Texas Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act. The bill deletes language that prohibits a district from requiring a permit for the drilling or alteration of the size of a well or that restricts the production of a well if the water produced or to be produced from the well is used or to be used to supply the domestic needs of 10 or fewer households or for feeding livestock and poultry connected with farming, ranching, or dairy enterprises. The bill deletes the provision prohibiting a district from requiring a permit for water wells supplying water for hydrocarbon production activities. The bill deletes language that requires the Texas Water Development Board to adopt rules regarding facilities used primarily for feeding livestock and deletes language that prohibits the district from denying the owner or lessee of a tract of land that has no well equipped to produce more than 25,000 gallons a day either a permit to drill a well on the land or the privilege to produce groundwater from the land, subject to the rules of the district. The bill prohibits a district from restricting the production of certain wells that are incapable of producing more than 25,000 gallons of groundwater a day. The bill requires a person who is required to obtain a permit from the commission under the Texas Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act to report to the district on a monthly basis the total amount of water withdrawn, the quantity necessary for mining purposes, and the quantity withdrawn for other purposes. The bill prohibits a district from requiring such a well to comply with the spacing requirements of the district. The bill removes language that sets forth that nothing in the Act applies to wells drilled for oil, gas, sulphur, uranium, or brine, or for core tests, or for injection of gas, saltwater, or other fluid, or for any other purpose. The bill deletes the provision that water wells drilled after September 1, 1997, to supply water for hydrocarbon production activities must meet the spacing requirements of the district unless no space is available within 300 feet of the production well or the central injection station. The bill prohibits the district from denying an application for a permit to drill water well to supply water for hydrocarbon production activities if the application is in compliance with the spacing, density, and production rules of the district. The bill deletes the provision requiring exempted water wells to be equipped and maintained so as to conform to the district's rules. The bill modifies provisions regarding the registration of exempt water wells and requires a driller of an exempt well to file the well's drilling log with the district. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 3587 differs from the original bill by prohibiting the district from requiring a permit for the drilling of certain water wells permitted by the Railroad Commission of Texas which are located within the boundaries of the field where the drilling rig is located or in close proximity to the drilling rig. The substitute differs from the original bill by providing that an exemption in the Act does not affect a groundwater conservation district's (district) authority to impose fees regarding the transfer of groundwater out of district or to levy taxes or collect fees. The substitute modifies the effective date of the Act.