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Interim Charges for House Committees
Article By: by Texas State Rep. Larry Phillips
Posted: 4/27/2014 Views: 1893  Impressions: 10017
Categories: Home Life: Environmental, Politics

This week I will discuss the interim charges recently issued to the House Committee on Energy Resources. Interim charges are the issues that the Speaker asks committees to study during the time between regular legislative sessions in order to make recommendations for legislation for the following legislative session. The charges are good indicators of what legislation the legislature will take up during the next session. Legislators rely on public input when crafting legislation, and it is important that they hear from people during the interim.

House Committee on Energy Resources

* Study the impact of the expanding oil and gas exploration and production occurring across the state. Included in the study should be both the positive impacts of the exploration and production as well as the new challenges they are presenting. The study should encompass a review of the following issues:
* The effect on the state budget and the Economic Stabilization Fund;
* The overall impact on the state economy;
* The impact on property values and local taxes;
* The effect on roads;
* The impact on local school districts;
* The complex relationship between land owners, royalty owners, and operators;
* The impact on the environment, including emissions and injection wells;
* Projected water needs and how those fit with our state water plan; and
* The housing issues created by the number of workers needed in areas of shale plays.
* Study the permitting process at the Railroad Commission to determine whether the process is efficient and effective and whether there are actions that can be taken to improve the process. The Railroad Commission is the agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industries in Texas; despite its name, it no longer regulates railroads.
* Study and review the appropriation of general revenue dollars allocated to the Railroad Commission for improvements in IT systems to ensure those funds are being utilized to streamline the permitting process and to allow access to information for all parties that conduct business at the Commission.
* Review the application of current law to determine the legal rights of unperfected security interests of oil and gas producers with respect to subsequent purchasers, specifically in the context of a bankruptcy proceeding such as Arrow Oil & Gas, Inc. v. SemCrude, L.P. and subsequent cases.

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