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Railroad Commission Authority and Jurisdiction
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does the Railroad Commission has jurisdication over and who to contact?

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC, Commission) is the state agency with primary regulatory jurisdiction over the oil and natural gas industry, pipeline transporters, natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline industry, natural gas utilities, the LP-gas industry, and coal and uranium surface mining operations. It is also responsible for research and education to promote the use of LP-gas as an alternative fuel in Texas. The Commission exercises its statutory responsibilities under provisions of the Texas Constitution, the Texas Natural Resources Code, the Texas Water Code, the Texas Health and Safety Code, the Texas Utilities Code, the Coal and Uranium Surface Mining and Reclamation Acts, and the Pipeline Safety Acts. The Commission also has regulatory and enforcement responsibilities under federal law including the Surface Coal Mining Control and Reclamation Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Pipeline Safety Acts, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act, and the Clean Water Act.

What does the Railroad Commission NOT have jurisdication over and who to contact?

The Railroad Commission does not have jurisdiction over roads, traffic, noise, odors, leases, pipeline easements, or royalty payments.

Roads and Traffic:   The Railroad Commission does not have jurisdiction over, and exercises no regulatory authority with respect to, private or public roads or road use.  Permits issued by the Commission for oil and gas exploration, production, and waste disposal do not limit any independent authority of a municipality, county or other state agencies with respect to road use. For more information concerning local ordinances in the Barnett Shale, please visit the City Ordinances section of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council web site or for other areas of the state, please visit the Texas Online portal for links to cities and counties in Texas.

The Texas Department of Transportation oversees the construction and maintenance of state highways within their jurisdiction. In addition, TXDOT is responsible for issuing access permits to well sites from a roadway on the state highway system. Please review letter for specific access permit requirements. To contact the appropriate district office, please visit the Texas Department of Transporation, Local Information web site.

Noise:  The Commission has no statutory authority over noise or nuisance related issues. Noise and nuisance related issues would be governed by local ordinances. For more information concerning local ordinances in the Barnett Shale, please visit the City Ordinances section of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council web site or for other areas of the state, please visit the Texas Online portal for links to cities and counties in Texas.

Odors:  The Railroad Commission does not have regulatory authority over odors.  However, for a well within the city limits, the city may enact ordinances regarding odors or other nuisances.  In addition, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality  (TCEQ) has jurisdiction over air contaminants.   Please see http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/compliance/complaints/odor_complaint.html

Oil and Gas Exploration and Surface Ownership: For general information pertaining to exploration and surface ownership, please visit the Oil and Gas Exploration and Surface Ownership web page.

Royalty payments:   For general information pertaining to leases and royalities, please visit the General Information Pertaining to Leases and Royalties web page.