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.