Friday, April 8, 2011

Legislative Update for bills the Town of Flower Mound is monitoring

The 82nd legislative session in Austin is in full speed. This time around there are many bills that relate to the Oil and Gas industry. Some will have positive impacts if passed and some will have negative impacts if passed.

Many may not know that our Mayor Melissa Northern and the Town Council is working hard supporting the good bills and lobbying against the bad bills. Mayor Northern has made countless trips to Austin this session and met with a number of legislators including Senator Nelson, Senator Harris, Rep Parker and Rep Keffer.

Rep Keffer is the author of the HB 3105. HB 3105 would make a city regulation that damages, destroys, impairs, or prohibits development of a mineral interest subject to the Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act. Basically give the gas companies and mineral owners a green light to sue if they don't get their way. Even if they are not in compliance with city ordinances. What would most likely happen is municipalities would waive the regulations and allow a gas well in the playground of a school or in your backyard to avoid costly litigation. Mayor Northern testified against HB 3105 in front of the Energy Resource Committee. This bill is the ugly offspring of HB 2110 that was authored by Rep Hughes back in the 2009 81st legislative session. Click here for information on the fiscal impact HB 3105 on municipalities.

A Flower Mound citizen, developer, and lawyer, Roy Morris, testified in favor of this bill. Some may know him as one of the bankrupted River Walk partners. Although he may not have a stake in the surface rights of River Walk anymore, Mr. Morris made it clear he still owns the minerals under the River Walk property. Roy Morris supported and testified for HB 2110 in 2009. Mr. Morris is pushing for this bill to pass.

Click here to watch the video. Mr. Morris testifies at about 4:41 into the video. Keep watching and you will see Mayor Northern and Dish Mayor Tillman testimonies against the bill. In the early part of the video, Mayor Northern testified in support of HB 3792,authored by Rep. Burnam, Municipal Authority to Regulate Gas Pipelines Located within the Municipality.

Some Bills Mayor Northern and Flower Mound Town Council are supporting, opposing or monitoring are the following:

SB 18 authored by Senator Estes, Eminent Domain – allows eminent domain authority for private entities. The town sent a letter in opposition.

SB 527 authored by Senators Nelson, Harris, Fraser, Estes, Shapiro & West. Installation of 20 Air Monitors in North Texas. The town sent a letter in support.

SB 655 authored by Senator Heger. Creation of the Texas Oil & Gas Commission (and Abolition of Railroad Commission). The town is monitoring this bill.

SB 875 authored by Senator Fraser. Would take away a Texan’s right to sue a company for “nuisance” or “trespass” resulting from greenhouse gas emissions. the town is monitoring this bill.

SB 1293 authored by Senator Heger. Pipeline Safety – doubling penalties for violations relating to certain pipelines. The town is in support of this bill.

HB 279 authored by Reps. Geren, Schwertner,Zerwas, Orr & Sheffield. Eminent Domain – Companion to SB 18. The town is opposed to this bill.

HB 1145 authored by Reps. Parker, Geren & Nash. Funding for Air Monitors – Companion to SB 527. The town sent a letter in support.

HB 2125 authored by Rep Parker. Gas Well Inspections – Increased priority for Counties with population of 650,000+. Resolution in Support Adopted 3/21.

HB 2126 authored by Rep Parker. Doubling Penalties – for violations in urban natural gas producing counties. Resolution in Support Adopted 3/21.

HB 3105 authored by Rep Keffer. Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act – applying to certain governmental actions. Mayor Northern testified against the bill at hearing on 4/06. Resolution in Opposition Adopted 3/21. Letters and Resolution Sent to Members of Energy Resources Committee 3/25.

HB 3328 authored by Rep Keffer. Disclosure of Composition of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids. The town is monitoring this bill.

HB 3792 authored by Rep. Burnam. Municipal Authority to Regulate Gas Pipelines Located within the Municipality. Mayor Northern testified in support of the bill at hearing on 4/06.

HJR 56 suthored by Rep. Solomans. Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Restrict the Power of the Legislature to Mandate Requirements on Local Govts. Resolution in Support Adopted 3/07. Letters and Resolution Sent to Legislators 3/21.

Click here for more legislative info from the Town of Flower Mound website.

If there are amendments made to the above bills, the town may change their position on the bills.


Anonymous said...

So where is the Hilliard sign supporting Kendra? I mean she is anti-NFL. Oh that's right, Hilliard doesn't have the balls to put that sign up.

Anonymous said...

Actually Hilliard went through under NFL's watch. Not Kendra. Maybe she's not anti-NFL but instead thought they should have fought harder against it.

Anonymous said...

Hilliard was in motion before NFL took over. Some in this town were not around when 3 of our Town Council members voted against a moratorium back in late 2009. Guess which 3? Yep Levenick, Dixon, and Wallace.
Whether NFL could have fought harder to stop it is easy to say when you are not the one faced with the hard decision!

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1:24, it's called "vested rights", google it.

Anonymous said...

I also see that Kendra's buddy was down in Austin speaking FOR HB 3105. What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

Is Kendra for or against the proposed dog park @ Hilliard field?

Anonymous said...

Since Hilliard goes to church, next time he should ask for forgiveness for stealing the minerals of his neighbors without compensation.

Anonymous said...

NFL had a choice not to approve the variance because of tank batteries. Hilliard was granted approval to cap a water well, chop down 19 trees and remove a building before it came to that. It's good to have someone on council who will ask questions. They have the vote to pass through whatever they want but this way we are getting more than one viewpoint and options available.

Don't any of you have friends that you don't agree with? She has stated flat out that she does not agree with Roy. Horizontal drilling is here - 59 wells. Should we close our eyes and say we are against drilling and then watch it happen? Or when there is no way around it, proceed with the safest possible methods?

Getting the well head away from inhabited areas is much better. That is where the accidents happen - flowback, produced water, blowouts, flaring, etc. Frac fluids won't be migrating upwards from 8,000 feet under. No, we don't want urban drilling - we are on the same page - but there are instances where it will happen. In the case of Hilliard Kendra was the lone dissenter trying to not let it happen.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, there are many people who worked very hard for the last few years to minimize drilling. Kendra just showed up a little over a year and a half ago.
How come no one is going after Levenick, Dixon and Wallace for not voting to put a moratorium in the fall of 2009. That was the single most important reason Hilliard happened. Titan filed for the permit immediately after that Council meeting.
Yes, Filidoro (as in the F in NFL) and Hayden were for the moratorium.
They did try to stop it but didn't have the majority. Go ahead and try to bring them down and see how far you get when the drill baby drill crowd gets on council again.

Anonymous said...

Seriously anon 3:57. If I hear what a saint Kendra is again, I am going to puke. Sorry, I just can't take it anymore. What to know who is a Saint? Melissa Northern is fighting tooth and nail for us in Austin because she knows that is where change will make the most impact on our community. Say what you want about NFL but Melissa was trying to make a difference way before she ran for Mayor. In fact, people like Kendra and Ginger wouldn't even know about the CCF if Melissa and Sue Ann L hadn't worked so hard to bring attention to this issue in Wellington and the Sanctuary.

Anonymous said...

Ironic how the very people that informed them of the CCF (Current Mayor and her supporters) are the ones Kendra's campaign now attack.

Anonymous said...

Actions speak louder than words. Kendra has asserted she is against HB3105 however she has accepted the endorsement of Roy Morris, without whom this bill would not exist. I saw this well stated on FMCs - When a property owner/developer offers to allow a candidate to put a sign on his property it is an offer of endorsement. When the candidate puts the sign on the property it is the acceptance of endorsement. By claiming that it's just a great spot for a sign and nothing more, her campaign seems to be saying that she doesn't understand how endorsement works. Even if she doesn't, I'm sure Roy Morris does and he is signally to the pro-drilling crowd who he thinks they should vote for by the prominent display of her sign.

Anonymous said...

Railroad commission records show the date the Hilliard permit was applied for as before NFL was even in office. NFL did not choose to have Hilliard not covered by the moratorium. It was not even possible based on the date on the permit. All of this other talk of trees, tank batteries, etc., is just noise to confuse the basic fact above.