October 17, 2021

Volume XI, Number 290

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Texas Governor Signs Law Limiting Local Control of Oil and Gas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law restrictions on how municipalities can regulate oil and gas drilling operations within their city limits. 

House Bill 40, crafted in response to a hydraulic fracturing ban passed by Denton voters last November, prevents municipalities from banning activities like hydraulic fracturing and other oil and natural gas activities when oil and gas wells are being drilled.  The new law also preempts cities from enacting a variety of other ordinances, including regulations on wastewater disposal wells. 

House Bill 40 affirms the supremacy of state law by expressly proscribing regulation of oil and gas operations by municipalities and other political subdivisions which the state already impliedly preempts.  The Bill amends Chapter 81 of the Natural Resources Code by adding a new Section 81.071 entitled “Express Preemption” which codifies limits on local governments’ ability to regulate oil and gas operations. The legislature believes it is in the state’s interest to affirm the authority for regulation of oil and gas activities within the state. 

Governor Abbott ensures the new law will:

  • Protect mineral rights holders
  • Prevent a patchwork of regulations across the state
  • Prevent encroachment on private property rights at the local level

The text of the new law can be found here

© Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume V, Number 142
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About this Author

Don Hueske, Environmental Attorney, Steptoe Johnson Law Firm
Member

Don Hueske focuses his practice in the area of mineral title law and has extensive experience in title examination and due diligence for acquisitions and financing issues, as well as the management and oversight of those providing similar services.  He routinely prepares original, supplemental and division order title opinions, and has assisted in the negotiation and drafting of leasehold assignments, farmout and joint operating agreements and various curative instruments, as well as master service agreements.  A survivor of over thirty years in the energy industry (and...

(281) 203-5755
Legal, Business, Sarah Trainer, Environmental Attorney, Steptoe Johnson Law FIrm
Associate

Sarah Trainer focuses her practice in the area of oil, gas and mineral law and property law with emphasis on mineral and leasehold title examination. She is a former clerk for Judge Joseph "Tad" Halbach, Harris County State District Court Judge. Ms. Trainer has extensive experience drafting original drilling title opinions, division order title opinions, lease acquisition title opinions and supplemental title opinions. Ms. Trainer also has experience in all aspects of litigation, including oil and gas litigation, property damage and premises liability.

(281) 203-5775
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