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History of the Railroad Commission

Chronological Listing of Key Events in the History of the Railroad Commission of Texas (1980-1999)

January 7, 1980
In an emergency rule, the Commission adopts an amendment to the curtailment program for natural gas that directs intrastate gas companies to curtail all sa1es and deliveries to out-of-state markets under surplus sales clauses when the needs of their Texas customers are not met.
Docket No. 2336 (January 7, 1980).

February 16, 1980
The State of Texas, through the Railroad Commission, became the first state in the nation to be designated as the regulatory authority authorized by the U.S. Department of Interior to administer the coal regulatory program under the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.

February 29, 1980
Railroad Commission, with the revision of this statewide rule, amends the section pertaining to plugging wells. Plugging operations on each dry or inactive well must be commenced within a period of 90 days after drilling or production operations have ceased and must be pursued with diligence until completed.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.02.014, 5 Tex. Reg. 499 (1980).

April 8, 1980
Commission requires that all personnel involved in drilling operations on lands which underlie fresh or marine waters in Texas complete training in well control equipment and techniques in order to ensure safe and environmentally sound drilling operations.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.02.013, 5 Tex. Reg. 1152 (1980).

April 25, 1980
As amended, this rule provides that Natural Gas Policy Act applications may be reviewed and approved without a hearing, although hearings will be held when an examiner's recommendation is adverse to the applicant, when an intervention in protest is filed, when applicant makes a written request for a hearing, or when the staff determines a hearing is necessary.
Texas Railroad Commission Rule 051.02.03.004, 5 Tex. Reg. 1418 (1980).

May 19, 1980
Pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, the Environmental Protection Agency is required to develop regulations and programs for controlling all significant quantities of hazardous wastes, from generation to disposal. In a significant action, the EPA temporarily delays imposition of the regulations for oil and gas drilling muds, production brines, and utility waste, based on the strong showing of congressional intent on this matter.
45 Fed. Reg. 33,063 (1980).

June, 1980
Oil and Gas Division reports crude production in 1979 totaled 978,544,145 barrels, dropping below the billion barrel mark for the first time in fifteen years.
Railroad Commission, Oil and Gas Division, 1979 Annual Report at p.13.

June 24, 1980
Under authority granted by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974(P.L.93-532),the Environmental Protection Agency issues rules to prevent underground injections -although not to interfere with oil and gas production or successful existing state programs, unless necessary - which endanger efforts to maintain high quality drinking water sources for the future. The Commission currently directs an Underground Injection Control (UIC) program for Texas within the promulgated federal guidelines.
45 Fed. Reg. 42,472 (1980).

October 14, 1980
Congress enacts the Staggers Rail Act, designed to quicken the process of railroad rate deregulation begun in 1976 with the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976.
Pub. L. 96-448, 94 Stat. 1895 (codified in various sections of 11, 45, and 49 U.S.C.A. (1983)).

1981
James E. (Jim) Nugent becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commisison.

January 2, 1981
Buddy Temple succeeded John H. Poerner as a Railroad Commissioner.

June 17, 1981
House Bill 1379 gives the Commission comprehensive authority to regulate underground injection activities consistent with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 and clarifies the Commission's jurisdiction over underground hydrocarbon storage facilities.
1981 Tex. Gen. Laws, Ch.830.

November 4, 1981
Statewide Rule 37 is amended to allow for administrative approval of unprotested drilling and deepening applications.
16 TAC. '3.37, 6 Tex. Reg. 3911 (1981).

December 31, 1981
Texas Supreme Court holds that the Commission has power and authority to hear and consider applications for common carrier certificates to operate over irregular routes and on irregular schedules.
Railroad Commission of Texas v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 629 S.W.2d 33 (Tex. 1981).

September 20, 1982
Congress enacts the Bus Regulatory Reform Act, designed to remove disparities between intrastate and interstate bus rates, and to remove state regulatory constraints on discontinuance of intrastate bus routes.
49 U.S.C.A. 10935 (1982).

1983
Mack Wallace becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

January 1, 1983
Amendments are made to Statewide Rule 13 detailing technical requirements for the casing and cementing of oil, gas. and other wells subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.
16 T.A.C. '3.13, 7 Tex. Reg. 3982 (1982).

April 7, 1983
Legislature amends the Water Code (see 1971 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.58 supra) to give the Railroad Commission jurisdiction over the in situ recovery of tar sands.
1983 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.184.

April 14, 1983
Pursuant to the Sunset Act, the Legislature enacts a general law outlining the administration, powers, duties, and continuation of the RRC, to be reviewed again in 1995.

April 29, 1983
Legislature amends the Water Code (see 1971 Tex. Gen. Laws, supra) to require the Railroad Commission to determine the feasibility of injecting substances other than fresh water when injection well permits are sought for secondary recovery projects.
1983 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.996.

May 10, 1983
Senate Bill No. 617 gives Commission authority to regulate compressed natural gas work and operations, effective September 1, 1983.

August 29, 1983
Commission given safety enforcement jurisdiction over pipeline transporters of certain hazardous liquids. Gas Utility Division's Pipeline Safety Section given responsibility to enforce the federal standards for intrastate hazardous liquids pipeline operators.

September 1, 1983
Various sections of the Natural Resources Code and the Water Code are amended to provide a maximum civil penalty of $10,000 per day for pollution or safety violations of rules or orders.
1983 Tex. Gen. Laws. ch.967.

Gas Utility Regulatory Act (GURA) created.

House Bill 593 gives the Commission exclusive jurisdiction over iron ore and iron ore gravel mining and reclamation operations in Texas.

House Bill 1445 amends Chapter 131 of the Texas Natural Resources Code to provide administrative penalties of up to $10,000.00 a day for each violation of a uranium mining permit resulting in air or water pollution or creating a threat to public safety.

The Commission is authorized to assess a $100 drilling permit application fee for each new or materially amended application to drill. This fee is placed in the state well plugging fund.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code '85.2021 (Vernon Supp. 1985)(original version at 1983 Tex. Gen. Laws, ch.967).

September 12, 1983
The Commission adopts new '3.72, Statewide Rule 85, which requires all transport of crude oil or condensate by truck be accompanied by a cargo manifest identifying the quantity, origin, destination, and transporter of the crude oil or condensate. The rule also requires that vehicles used to transport crude oil or condensate bear identifying marks.
16 T.A.C. '3.72, 8 Tex. Reg. 3815.

April 1984
Interstate Commerce Commission notifies the Commission that it is de-certified under the Staggers Rail Act. The effect of the decision is to exclude the Commission from rail rate setting.

The Pipeline Safety Section of the Gas Utilities Division begins educational seminars for "master meter" operators of natural gas systems, such as those serving mobile home parks and apartment complexes. Evaluations of those systems given greater emphasis by safety inspectors.

April 23, 1984
Constitutionality of Staggers Rail Act upheld.
State of Texas v. United States, 730 F.2d 339 (5th Cir. 1984), cert. den'd, 105 S. Ct. 267 (1984).

May 1, 1984
Commission amends Statewide Rule 8 as directed by the Texas Legislature in HB 2005. The rule sets out procedures and conditions for authorization of use of salt water disposal pits.
16 T.A.C. '3.8, Statewide Rule 8.

1985
Buddy Temple becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

April 4, 1985
5th Circuit Court of Appeals holds that the Bus Regulatory Reform Act empowered the Interstate Commerce Commission to authorize the discontinuance of intrastate bus routes, despite the refusal of the Railroad Commission to permit it.
State of Texas v. United States, 756 F.2d 419 (5th cir.1985), cert. den'd, 106 S. Ct. 129 (1985).

May 13, 1985
The Commission enters an order rejecting the application of Phillips Petroleum Company for amendment of the Panhandle Field rules but clarifies that Statewide Rule 79(7) is applicable to the Panhandle Fields and that hydrocarbon liquids must be liquid in the reservoir under current conditions, liquid in the wellbore and liquid at the surface to be counted as crude oil is calculating gas-oil ratio for purposes of classifying a well. The order requires retesting of wells with low temperature extractors (LTX units).
Docket No.10-77,314 (May 13, 1985).

May 16, 1985
Texas Legislature empowers the Commission to issue state rules and orders to regulate rail safety, as permitted by the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970.
Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. Art. 6448a (supp.1986).

June 11, 1985
Gas Utility Regulatory Act revised to permit gas utilities to reduce rates without prior Commission approval.

June 15, 1985
Commission is given the sole responsibility for the control and disposition of waste and the abatement and prevention of pollution of surface and subsurface water resulting from activities associated with the exploration, development, and production of oil or gas or geothermal resources.
1985 Tex. Gen. Laws, Ch.921 (H.B. No. 1867).

June 21, 1985
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upholds the decision by the Interstate Commerce Commission to de-certify the Commission from participation in rail rate setting under the Staggers Rail Act.
Railroad Commission of Texas v. United States,765 F.2d 221 (D.C. Cir.1985).

August 26, 1985
Another revision to the Gas Utility Regulatory Act gives the Commission 185 days from the date a party to a rate proceeding appealed those rates to the Commission, to fix new rates. Previously, the Commission was required to fix the rates within 120 days.

Section 91.142 of the Natural Resources Code, as amended by House Bill 1942, requires anyone performing any operation which is under the Commission's jurisdiction to file an Organization Report.
1985 Tex. Gen. Laws, Ch. 398.

September 1, 1985
Senate Bill 699 excludes from Commission jurisdiction iron mining activities in progress on or before September 1, 1985, and replaces the less than five acres exemption with an exemption for operations on single contiguous tracts no larger than 20 acres with the depth of mining restricted to 30 inches or less.

House Bill 2431 requires filing with the Commission a copy of each electric log made after September 1, 1985, in conjunction with the drilling of a well. A log may remain confidential upon written request to the Commission, for a period of one year with the possibility of an extension of an additional two years.
1985 Tex. Gen. Laws, Ch.978, 10 Tex. Reg. 3242 (1985).

September 15, 1985
Statewide Rule 36 is amended to ensure the public will be protected from the hazards of hydrogen sulfide gas.
16 T.A.C. '3.36, 20 Tex. Reg. 2069 (1985).

October 9, 1985
Some members of the Panhandle Independent Producers Group appeal the May 13, 1985 order, Docket No,10-77,314 concerning hydrocarbon liquids. The Travis County District Court denies a temporary restraining order and renders a declaratory judgment declaring that the Commission correctly interpreted the substantive law of Texas as prohibiting the use of natural gasoline as crude oil for well classification purposes. The court also ruled that the May 13, 1985 order was void for failure to follow rulemaking procedures.
Hufo Oils et al v. Railroad Commission of Texas, No.382,447 (District Court of   Travis County, 250th Judicial District of Texas, October 9, 1985).

October 18, 1985
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission adopts FERC Order No.436 to be effective in November 1985. This order sets forth significant revisions in the guidelines for interstate transportation of natural gas including interstate natural gas transported initially by intrastate pipelines. Under Order 436, transportation service is to be offered on a non-discriminatory basis.

1986
James E. (Jim) Nugent becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

January 1986
After passage of the Department of Transportation's rules governing safety enforcement for hazardous liquids pipelines, the Pipeline Safety Section of the Gas Utilities Division began on-site evaluations of those pipelines and began offering educational seminars to the operators of those systems in May, 1986.

March 3, 1986
Clark Jobe succeeded Buddy Temple as a Railroad Commissioner.

August 13, 1986
The plaintiffs in the Hufo Oils case appealed the Travis County District Court decision. The Austin Court of Appeals upheld the District Court ruling that the Railroad Commission correctly interpreted the substantive law of Texas as prohibiting counting natural gasoline as crude oil for well classification purposes. The Court of Appeals also ruled that the independent producers waived their argument that the original hearing was an invalid attempt at rulemaking by not raising the issue at the Railroad Commission level.
Hufo Oils et al v. Railroad Commission of Texas No.14,603 (Tex. App.--Austin, Aug. 13, 1986, writ requested) (Supreme Court case No. C-5937).

August 18, 1986
Statewide Rule 14 is amended to allow for wells which become inactive on or after January 1, 1986 but before January 1, 1988 to have one year instead of 90 days in which to plug the well or bring it into compliance in some other way.

September 1, 1986
The Commission's new Statewide Rules 28 and 31 become effective governing gas well testing and gas well allowables.

September 29, 1986
The Commission adopts an amendment to '3.5. Statewide Rule 5, which allows an operator of an existing well to request authorization to deepen inside casing or to plug back in order to test other reservoirs prior to going through the complete permit application process.

October 22, 1986
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was enacted. The major provisions affecting gas utilities are (1) the repeal of the investment tax credit retroactively to January 1, 1986; (2) the lowering of the top corporate income tax rate from 46% to 40% in 1987 and to 34% thereafter; and (3) the requirement for utilities to accrue unbilled revenues related to cycle billing.

January 6, 1987
John Sharp succeeded Clark Jobe as a Railroad Commissioner.

January 12, 1987
Mack Wallace becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

February 9, 1987
The Commission adopts new Rules 30 and 34, pertaining to gas nominations and gas to be produced and purchased ratably. The new rules become effective on March 2, 1987.

June, 1987
The legislature enacts S.B. 595 and H.B. 908, bringing the most comprehensive changes to motor carrier regulation since the Motor Carrier Act of 1929. Tariff base rates are simplified and common carriers are authorized to deviate from Commission-set base rates up to 15 percent, depending on the weight of the shipment. The bills also require most operators of commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds to register them with the Commission and file proof of insurance.

July, 1987
The legislature authorizes the Commission to provide assistance in the prosecution of oilfield thefts or related matters. Oil Field Theft Investigative unit created by the Commission, effective September 1, 1987.
Appropriations Act, Chapt. 78, Art 1, 1987, Tex. Gen. Laws, 253, 1-122.

September 23, 1987
Kent Hance succeeded Mack Wallace as a Railroad Commissioner.

October 1987
James E. (Jim) Nugent becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

November 1987
John Sharp becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

December 1987
Kent Hance becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

January 1, 1988
In response to Senate Bill 595, the Commission prescribed simplified base rates for motor common carriers. An average rate dropped almost 28% and carriers were allowed to deviate from those rates by a prescribed percentage.

January 11, 1988
James E. (Jim) Nugent becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

February 2, 1988
The Commission approves the procedure of administrative field rule changes in the shallow fields of District 7B, 7C (McCulloch County only), and 9.

February 22, 1988
Statewide Rule 22 on artificial lift is repealed. Exceptions are no longer required for various tubing sizes and working barrel diameters. Allowables for artificial lift wells will continue to be assigned based on other Commission rules.

February 22, 1988
Statewide Rule 48 is amended to allow special allowables on all secondary and tertiary recovery projects, not just water flood projects. In some cases, allowables may be assigned administratively, without a hearing.

March 1, 1988
The Enforcement Section of the Transportation Division began active enforcement of the administrative penalties provisions of Senate Bill 595, collecting almost $500,000 in fines by year's end.

March 14, 1988
Commission permits gas utilities to include 1/2 of 1% of revenues as an allowable amount for advertising in rate cases. Previously the Commission allowed only 1 /5 of 1%.

April 1, 1988
Effective date of commercial vehicle registration required by Senate Bill 595 and House Bill 908. Over 200,000 vehicles are registered by year's end.

April 1, 1988
A monthly stripout of allowables by gas purchaser and purchaser system is introduced.

April 18, 1988
Statewide Rule 14 is amended to make permanent the provision that dry or inactive wells have up to one year before plugging must begin. A further amendment contains an alternate method for obtaining a 14(b)(2) extension beyond that year period by submitting a $100 annual fee.

July 6, 1988
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determines that oil and gas waste need not be regulated as hazardous waste under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The EPA found that existing state and federal regulatory programs were generally adequate.

July 18, 1988
Area determinations for tight formations under the Natural Gas Policy Act (Section 107) no longer require a hearing. Requests for determination may now be handled administratively.

August 1988
Guidelines are issued requiring drilling permit applications for cathodic protection holes which penetrate the base of usable water.

November 14, 1988
Hearings are no longer automatically required for the review of temporary field rules and entity for density applications.

The Railroad Commission reorganizes and combines the Transportation Division and the Gas Utilities Division.

December 1, 1988
The Commission hires its first hazardous materials railroad inspector.
S.B. 595

January 9, 1989
Kent Hance becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

March, 1989
The legislature enacts H.B. 2945 which changes the gas utility tax base from 2 percent to 1/2 percent and allows certain before-tax expense deductions.

April, 1989
The legislature enacts S.B.430 which makes some of the same changes in motor bus regulation that were made to motor carrier regulation by S.B. 595.

May 1, 1989
Panhandle Fields Amended Final Order, Docket No.10-87,017, becomes effective, clarifying rules and regulations for the Panhandle Field of District 10. Appendix 1 of the order establishes the criteria operators must meet for each well to establish a presumed compliance with the field rules which prohibit perforating oil wells in dry gas horizons and prohibit perforating gas wells in oil-productive horizons. Presumed compliance is to be established by May 1990.

June 1, 1989
Statewide Rule 37, "Statewide Spacing Rule," is revised to extend life of drilling permits from one year to two years.

September, 1989
"Clean Air" legislation passed by the 71st Legislature requires vehicles to be capable of using compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Some 635,500 vehicles in Texas could be affected.
1989 Texas Gen. Laws, Ch.1190.

November 1, 1989
Statewide Rule 38, "Well Densities," is revised to allow for some drilling density exceptions to be granted administratively rather than by hearing. Permits granted with such an exception are valid for two years rather than the previous one year.

November 28, 1989
Statewide Rule 42, "Oil Discovery Allowable," is revised to increase daily oil well discovery allowables and extend the discovery status period for oil wells according to depth and whether the well is onshore or offshore.

February 20, 1990
Statewide Rule 50, "Enhanced Oil Recovery Projects - - Approval and Certification for Tax Incentive," is adopted to govern the state's first production incentive program. Enabling legislation was approved by the 71st Legislature to encourage secondary/tertiary recovery of oil. Certified projects, becoming active on or after September 1, 1989, with application filed by January 1, 1994, may receive a reduced severance tax rate of 2.3 percent of market value (1/2 of regular rate) for up to 10 years.

June 1, 1990
Statewide Rule 86, "Horizontal Drainhole Wells," is adopted, setting out spacing, density, allowables, procedural, and administrative regulations for the state's horizontal drainholes. There were 146 horizontal oil well completions in the Pearsall (Austin Chalk) Field - - focal point of horizontal drilling - - since May 1989, during which time that field's daily average production went from less than 10,000 barrels to almost 120,000 barrels.

June 12, 1990
Statewide Rule 105, "Certification for Severance Tax Exemption for Gas Produced from High-Cost Gas Wells," is adopted. The requirements are set out for certification under the state's second incentive program. Passed into law during the 71st Legislature, the program exempts from state severance taxes gas produced from high-cost gas wells (as defined under the 1978 Federal Natural Gas Policy Act) for a period as long as from September 1991 to August 2001. Such wells must be spudded or completed between May 24, 1989 and September 1, 1996.

September 1, 1990
Emergency Statewide Rule 87, "Emergency Oil Allowables," is adopted, allowing many of the state's oil wells to increase production up each well's capacity for the months of September, October, and November. This is in response to U.S. Department of Energy request to lessen impact of any disruption of supplies from the Mid-East resulting from Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

October 19, 1990
331st District Court (Travis County) issues "Order for Issuance of Temporary Injunction" in suit OXY USA, Inc. filed against the Railroad Commission of Texas challenging the validity of the Commission's General Market Demand order that continues the 86 percent market demand factor for non-exempt prorated wells in the East Texas Field. The order establishes a 100 percent factor for October and November.

November, 1990
The Commission adopts rules which require drug testing for persons in safety sensitive positions with pipeline companies.

November 1, 1990
Statewide Rule 32, "Gas Well Gas and Casinghead Gas Shall Be Utilized for Legal Purposes," is revised to permit venting instead of flaring in certain circumstances and to expressly include casinghead gas with gathering systems and plants associated with the production of casinghead gas within the scope of the rule.

December 19, 1990
James E. (Jim) Nugent becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

January 3, 1991
Robert Krueger succeeded Kent Hance as a Railroad Commissioner.

January 23, 1991
Lena Guerrero succeeded John Sharp as a Railroad Commissioner.

February 11, 1991
Bob Krueger becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

March 25, 1991
The legislature enacts H.B. 2505, which imposes fees on first sale of odorized liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and assigns the Commission new duties of researching and educating the public on alternative fuels.
Tex. Nat. Res. Code Ch. 113, Subchapter I

April 23, 1991
Lena Guerrero becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

August 26, 1991
The Commission creates a new Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division to administer H.B. 2505.

August 26, 1991
The Commission given jurisdiction over Aggregate Quarry and Pit Safety.
Texas Nat. Res. Code c.133.

September 1, 1991
Statewide Rule 22, "Protection of Birds," is adopted to require operators to screen, net, cover, or otherwise render harmless open-top tanks and pits that are likely to collect oil. An amendment effective November 1, 1991 restricted the requirement to open-top tanks 8 feet or more in diameter.

September 1, 1991
Implementation of the Oil Field Cleanup Fund and program authorized by Senate Bill 1103 of the 72nd Texas Legislature. The Cleanup Fund replaces the Well Plugging Fund and receives monies from a variety of new fees paid by industry (drilling permit application fees graduated according to depth, lease severance reconnection fee, discharge permit application fee, and a regulatory fee of 5/16th of a cent per barrel of oil produced and 1/30th of a cent per mcf of gas produced). The fund's projected $10 million will be used to plug wells for which no responsible operator can be located or where the responsible operator lacks financial resources for plugging and to clean up surface pollution. The legislation also created a hazardous oil and gas waste regulatory program to be funded by fees levied on generators of such waste with the fee determined by the type and quantity of waste generated.
S.B 1103

October 30, 1991
The Commission adopts aggregate Quarry and Pit Safety Regulations.

January 1, 1992
The saltwater hauler regulatory program is expanded to become the Oil and Gas Waste Hauler Program under Senate Bill 1103 (see 9/1/91, above). The saltwater hauler bond is replaced by a $100 permit application and renewal fee with revenues dedicated to the Oil Field Cleanup Fund.
S.B. 1103

January 31, 1992
The State of Texas Energy Policy Partnership is introduced. Under the joint guidance of the Governor's Energy Office and the Railroad Commission, STEPP brings together some 300 participants to develop recommendations for a state energy policy. With representatives from government, consumer groups, industry, environmental groups, and academia all areas of Texas energy resources and demand are to be examined. A report is to be presented to the 73rd Legislature, Spring 1993.

February 1992
Shut-in wells, those with shut-in-wellhead pressure, become subject to the plugging provisions of Statewide Rule 14(b)(2). Once such a well has been inactive for a year, it must either be plugged, put back into production, or have a 14(b)(2) extension based on a financial assurance.

February 25, 1992
Statewide Rule 5, "Application to Drill, Deepen, Reenter, or Plug Back," is amended in response to Senate Bill 1103 to require that a drilling permit cannot be issued to an organization if there is an outstanding final order finding a safety or pollution violation against the organization, its officers or any organization that those officers are or were associated with.

March 1, 1992
Statewide Rule 14 "Plugging," is amended to require that wells that are at least 25 years old and inactive one year or more must pass an annual fluid level test. Mechanical integrity testing is required every five years, beginning January 1, 1997 on wells that are both 25 or more years old and inactive for ten or more years. Requirements for plugging of horizontal wells are included in the amendment.

March 18, 1992
Statewide Rule 50, "Enhanced Oil Recovery Projects," is amended as a result of Senate Bill 3 (72nd Legislature) to allow incremental production from expansions of existing Enhanced Oil Recovery ("EOR") projects to be eligible for consideration of taxation at the lower EOR severance tax rate.

The Commission adopts definitions and rules for administering, collecting, reporting and paying LPG delivery fees.
16 TAC ''15.1-15.2; 15.21-15.27

July 1, 1992
Statewide Rule 31, "Gas Well Allowables," is amended to discontinue prior system of determining market demand for prorated gas fields using nominations filed by the initial purchaser or user of gas. Under the new system, the Commission calculates market demand using as a base the actual production levels from that same month for the preceding year. The amended rule also defines a well's "capability" as the lesser of the well's latest deliverability test or its highest monthly production within the six most recently reported production months. Statewide Rule 30, "Gas Nominations Required," is repealed as part of the revisions to the gas proration system.

September 1992
The Commission's regulatory program for the management of oil and gas wastes exempt from the Federal Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is reviewed by an Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOCC) committee made up of representatives from other states' regulatory agencies. Along with reviews of other states' programs, this is to ensure that programs are in place that the federal government will recognize as successfully managing such wastes.

October 2, 1992
Jim Wallace succeeded Lena Guerrero as a Railroad Commissioner.

December 31, 1992
The well category determination program of the federal Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA) of 1978 ends. Under the federal Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act of 1989, the Commission no longer makes determinations on pricing categories.

January 5, 1993
Barry Williamson succeeded Jim Wallace as a Railroad Commissioner.

February 10, 1993
Mary Scott Nabers succeeded Bob Krueger as a Railroad Commissioner.

February 22, 1993
James E. (Jim) Nugent becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

April 26, 1993
The Commission approves a well plugging priority system that includes additional environmental, wildlife, and human health factors.

June 4, 1993
The Commission kicks off a waste minimization education program for oil and gas operators by conducting an all day workshop for industry participants.

August 31, 1993
The Commission sets a new record in the number of wells plugged with state funds. A total of 1,404 wells were plugged during Fiscal Year 1993, exceeding the previous record of 714 wells plugged during Fiscal Year 1986.

September 1, 1993
Texas Aggregate Quarry and Pit Safety Act was amended to allow counties with populations greater than 2.4 million to promulgate regulations for aggregate quarries and pits in unincorporated areas which are not regulated by the Commission, to clarify definitions, to provide for revised application and transfer requirements, to provide for barrier requirement waivers for abandoned or inactive pits subject to regulation due to public road construction prior to August 31, 1991, to revise fees for governmental entities and to limit governmental liability.
Nat. Res. Code, '' 133.003, 133.041, 133.042, 133.045-.047, 133.051, 133.088 and 133.091-.093.

Implementation of Senate Bill 1313, 73rd Legislature, significantly lessened the regulation of motor carriers by the Commission. The Bill's provisions included the expansion of commercial zones, the lessening of entry requirements for disadvantaged business applicants and certain other categories of applicants, the shortening of time periods for unprotested tariff amendments to become effective, and the establishment of shortened time periods for contested case hearing procedures and decisions.

The legislature enacts S.B.576/H.B.2008 giving the jurisdiction to the LP-Gas Division to regulate the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry to the same extent that it regulates the LPG and CNG industries.

Statewide Rule 50, "Enhanced Oil Recovery Projects" is amended to extend the time for filing applications for the Enhanced Oil Recovery Project authority from January 1,1994 to January 1, 1998. Additionally, it provides operators an opportunity for a tax incentive for qualifying "Co-Production Projects". Application period open from September 1, 1993 until January 1, 1994. (Senate Bill 466/ House Bill 2723.)

September 1, 1993
The legislature enacts H.B.2822 authorizing the Commission to establish consumer rebate and incentive programs for LPG appliances and equipment and limiting the proportion of the Alternative Fuels Research and Education Fund usable for such programs to not more than 25 percent of the funds available.

September 13, 1993
The Commission adopts Statewide Rule 84, relating to agency procedures for determining whether a natural gas supply emergency exists.

November 1, 1993
Commission adopts Statewide Rule 91, "Cleanup of Soil Contaminated by a Crude Oil Spill." This rule establishes standards and procedures for cleanup of most crude oil spills.

November 16, 1993
Commission adopted amendments to Quarry and Pit Safety Regulations to update application procedures, provide new definitions, provide barrier requirement waivers, and provide reduced fees for governmental entities.
16 TAC '' 11.1004, 11.1005, 11.1021, 11.1033, 11.1034, 11.1038, 11.1040, 11.1043 and 11.1081

November 24, 1993
Commission adopts Statewide Rule 83, concerning 3-year inactive wells. Allows an operator to obtain Commission certification of a wellbore as a 3-year inactive well to qualify for a tax exemption provided in the Tax Code. Adoption of this incentive measure will result in an estimated $1.3 billion boost to the Texas economy.

December 1, 1993
The LP-Gas Division is awarded a Department of Labor grant to train defense and defense-related industry workers displaced from their positions due to reductions in defense spending and military base closures in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to convert vehicles to alternative fuels and place them in jobs in Texas as alternative fuel vehicle technicians and fleet managers.

December 1, 1993
The LP-Gas and Alternative Fuels Research and Education (AFRED) Divisions were awarded a State Energy Conservation Office grant to conduct classes for automotive mechanics statewide on conversion of vehicles to LP-gas.

January 1, 1994
Commission adopts Statewide Rule 95, "Underground Storage of Liquid or Liquefied Hydrocarbons in Salt Formations," Statewide Rule 96, "Underground Storage of Gas in Productive or Depleted Reservoirs", and Statewide Rule 97, "Underground Storage of Gas in Salt Formations." These rules impose new requirements for protection of public safety for operations involving storage of natural gas and liquid or liquefied hydrocarbons in underground salt formations and depleted reservoirs.

The Commission implements the streamlined Salvage Program Procedures authorized under House Bill 2705, 73rd Legislature, 1993. This salvage program generated $256,126 in its first year, by allowing the Commission to sell equipment from abandoned oilfield sites.

February 3, 1994
A U.S. District Court judge in Houston enjoined the Commission from administratively processing applications, holding hearings, or issuing orders or operating authority to disadvantaged businesses under the provisions of Senate Bill 1313, codified as section 4(f) of the Texas Motor Carrier Act.

February 17, 1994
Commission adopts Statewide Rules 26, 52, & 71, eliminating the need for obtaining ex- exceptions to use Lease Automated Custody (LACT) equipment and other devices to effect custody transfer of oil and condensate.

July 6, 1994
The Commission's Oil and Gas Division is awarded two grants from the Natural Resource Trustees to conduct GIS (Geographic Information System) projects on the coastal area of Texas.

July 18, 1994
Commission adopts rules establishing the Propane Alternative Fuels Advisory Committee to advise the Commission on matters relating to the Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division.  16TAC§15.30.

August 22, 1994
Commission adopts rules establishing a voluntary consumer rebate program for purchasers of LPG water heaters.  16TAC§§15.101-15.165

August 23, 1994
The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-305) preempted any state, effective January 1, 1995, from enacting or enforcing any law related to prices, routes, or services of motor carriers except those laws relating to transporters of household goods and laws relating to safety, insurance, and highway route controls based upon the weight or hazardous nature of cargo being transported.

August 26, 1994
The Trucking Industry Regulatory Reform Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-311), effective upon enactment, prohibited states from enforcing any law relating to intrastate fares on interstate motor bus carriers over routes authorized by the Interstate Commerce Commission.

September 30, 1994
Commission's Oil and Gas Division enhances it's automated mapping system by completing the digital base map consisting of the Original Texas Land Surveys and the Offshore State Tracts.

November 21, 1994
Commission establishes a voluntary media rebate program for LPG retailers.  16TAC§§15.201-15.245

December 10, 1994
Carole Keeton Rylander succeeded Mary Scott Nabers as a Railroad Commissioner.

December 12, 1994
The Commission adopted new regulations for the registration of commercial carriers, effective January 2, 1995, to comply with the recent federal preemption legislation and to ensure adequate insurance and safety practices by such carriers over Texas highways.

Commission adopts Rule 94 "Disposal of Oil and Gas NORM Waste." This rule establishes requirements for disposal of oil and gas waste that is contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM).

December 19, 1994
Commission adopts Statewide Rule 3.101, "Certification for Severance Tax Exception for Gas Produced from High-Cost Gas Wells". This allows for more efficient processing of severance tax exemption applications.

December 21, 1994
Barry Williamson becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

1995
The Commission initiated its Computational Technology Initiative (ACTI) collaborative activities with Texas A&M University and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The goal of ACTI, a Department of Energy funded initiate, is to use technology for providing the global community with oil and gas information as a means of promoting further domestic exploration and production.

February 5, 1997
The Commission streamlined the approval process for plugging non-leaking wells with state funds by eliminating the requirement of issuing a final order directing the operator to plug a well prior to approving it for plugging with state funds. The result was the approval of 2,155 wells for plugging with state funds in fiscal year 1997, the second highest number of approvals since the inception of the Well Plugging Program in September 1983.

January 3, 1995
Charles R. Matthews succeeded James E. (Jim) Nugent as a Railroad Commissioner.

February 1, 1995
Rule 94 "Disposal of Oil and Gas NORM Waste" becomes effective.

August 1995
Area-of-review variance procedures for permitting underground injection wells approved by the Commission for the East Texas Field. Rather than well-by-well AORs, this might allow wells in a basin, producing trend, region, or field to be exempted from AOR through a variance program. The Permian Basin and Gulf Coast areas are being studied next to see if a variance standard can be developed.

The Oil and Gas Division's Environmental Services group is awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Regional Administrator's Environmental Excellence Award for its Waste Minimization Program.

September 1995
New procedures introduced for gas fields to change between prorated and AOF status procedures. A field may go to AOF status if each operator of active gas wells in the field certifies that there is 100 percent market demand for productive capacity of all the operator's active gas wells in the field and that productive capacity is produced.

September 1, 1995
High Cost-Gas incentive program changes as a result of 74th Legislature. Certification applications must be filed with the Commission and tax applications with the Comptroller within 180 days of first production.

Pursuant to SB 3, passed by the 74th Legislature, the Commission transferred all remaining motor carrier regulatory functions to the Texas Department of Transportation, thus ending over sixty years of Commission regulatory oversight of this industry.

October, 1995
Commission reorganization included the dissolving of the Transportation/Gas Utilities Division and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Division in favor of a new Gas Services Division and a new Rail Division.

October 1, 1995
Oil and Gas Division reorganized into Production Services, Permitting, Environmental Services, Regulatory Compliance (Field Operations), and Well Plugging sections.

November 7, 1995
The Commission approves Statewide Rule 98, "Management Standards for Hazardous Oil and Gas Waste," effective April 1, 1996. The rule creates management standards for generators and transporters of hazardous oil and gas waste, paralleling the federal hazardous waste regulations under Subtitle C of the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act. The program is to be supported by site fees from large and small quantity generators. Most sites, though, will be classified as conditionally exempt small quantity generators.

November 21, 1995
Carole Keeton Rylander becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

December 1995
RRC now offers operators option of electronic report filing on eight high-volume forms.

January 1, 1996
Texas Experimental Research and Recovery Activity C TERRA C is inaugurated. The program allows operators an alternative to plugging mechanically sound, non-polluting wells that can't be produced economically. For a fee based on the avoided plugging cost, the operator places the well in the hands of the commission. It is then made available for research aimed at increased recovery. The operator may retrieve the well from TERRA if circumstances change, making production once again viable.

January 31, 1996
Commission establishes a voluntary highway signage rebate program for propane and natural gas retailers through the Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division, under a $31,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.   16TAC§§15.301-15.350

February 1996
Contract signed for the Oil and Gas Data Infrastructure Project. With support of U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Computational Technology Initiative (ACTI), the Commission with partners ranging from Texas A&M university, Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, to the State of California, and the national laboratories, is combining database, Internet, and World Wide Web technology to make existing oil and gas data readily available for on-line analysis.

The 10,000th well is plugged under the Commission's plugging program that began in September 1983. This program is financed from fees and levies paid by the oil and gas industry. In 1961, the first well was plugged with state funds.

February 29, 1996
The Commission certifies the last "3-Year Inactive" well under the incentive offering tax exemptions to wells returning to production after being three or more years inactive.

March 26, 1996
After public hearings around the state and months of input from interested parties, the Commission voted to oppose the Union Pacific Railroad=s merger application before the federal Surface Transportation Board to acquire the Southern Pacific Railroad for $3.9 billion.

April 1, 1996
Statewide Rule 98, AManagement Standards for Hazardous Oil and Gas Waste@ became effective.

January 7, 1997
Charles R. Matthews becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

January 10, 1997
Rule 93 "Water Quality Certification" becomes effective. §401 of federal Clean Water Act provides that states must certify that certain federal licenses and permits comply with applicable state water quality requirements. Rule 93 governs issuance of §401 certifications by the Railroad Commission of Texas.

Amendments to Rule 8 "Water Protection" regarding Texas Coastal Management Plan (TCMP) becomes effective. These amendments added a new subsection (j) which applies only to activities that occur in the coastal zone and that are subject to the TCMP.

February 1997
Completed ARC/Info for county boundaries and statewide water coverage. Currently converting statewide survey coverage.

Governor Bush designates the Railroad Commission as a primary member of the federal Regional Response Team for emergency response and planning. The Governor also designates the Commission as an agency that can file Oil Pollution Act claims directly with the federal trust fund.

February 13, 1997
Rule 49, 52 and 53 were amended to exempt certain low volume oil wells from annual testing requirements.

April 8, 1997
Former two-term Governor William P. Clements receives inaugural Texas Energy Pioneer Award, kicking off the annual State of the Industry meeting in Austin. The new award will recognize and honor outstanding energy industry leaders.

April 21, 1997
Rule 38 was amended to expedite administrative approval of applications.

May 1, 1997
Rule 31 was amended to expand category of special allowable gas wells providing regulatory relief for marginal gas wells.

May 6, 1997
The Commission approved its first-ever million dollar state-funded plugging order authorizing $1,405,400.00 to plug 148 wells including 26 wells in Matagorda Bay.

May 20, 1997
Commission issues final order in GUD 8664, Lone Star City Gate Rate Case.

June, 1997
HB1611 required all public schools to conduct pressure tests on their piping systems prior to the school year. The Commission enacted emergency rules in July to cover the testing process.

June 16, 1997
HB3194 is enacted requiring some gas pipelines to receive construction permits from the Commission.

June 23, 1997
Rules 26 and 27 were amended to incorporate provisions of SB 1357 passed in the last legislative session relating to surface commingling.

August 18, 1997
The Railroad Commission of Texas adopts new Substantive Rule Section 7.59, concerning gas transportation standards and code of conduct.

August 31, 1997
The Commission set new fiscal year records in plugging 1,578 wells and completing cleanup activities at 213 sites with state funds.

September 1997
Oil & Gas, with ITS support, completed the LAN/WAN connection for all district offices. Public computer inquiry has been upgraded from mainframe technology to PC based. This effort was assisted by funding from the Department of Energy.

September 1, 1997
Legislature enacts S. B. 925 aligning Texas' system of administering LPG delivery fees more closely with the system set out in the federal Propane Education and Research Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-284, October 11, 1996) and requiring that 50 percent of funds available in the Alternative Fuels Research and Education Fund be devoted to consumer rebate and incentive programs.

September 1, 1997
Commission reorganizes Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division to implement S.B. 925.

September 1, 1997
Rule 37 was amended to simplify and reduce notification requirements.

Two-year inactive well incentive program implemented as a result of new legislation adopted in the 75th legislative session. Any well that has no more than one month of production since September 1995 is eligible for a 100% tax exempt status on the production if brought back on to production. A comprehensive list of eligible wells was sent to the operator of record at the end of August 1997.

Incremental production tax incentive program for low producing oil leaes implemented as a result of legislation adopted in the 75th legislative session. Any oil lease that produced less than or equal to 7 BOE per well per day in 1996 may be eligible for a 50% tax reduction for 5 years on any incremental production if an incremental production technique is used. A comprehensive list of all eligible oil leases was sent to the operator of record at the end of August 1997.

September 16, 1997
Oil and Gas Division reorganized into Permitting & Production Services, Environmental Services, Regulatory Compliance (Field Operations), Well Plugging, and Information Management Services.

September 16, 1997
The Commission approved increased expenditure authority levels for Commission Oil and Gas Division directors. The Director of the Oil and Gas Division was granted authority to approve up to $25,000 for well plugging operations and $25,000 for assessment and cleanup activities. The Assistant Directors for Well Plugging and Site Remediation were granted authority to approve up to $10,000 for well plugging operations and $10,000 for assessment and cleanup activities, respectively. The District Directors were granted authority to approve up to $5,000 for pre-plugging and emergency cleanup expenditures. The new expenditure authority further streamlined the approval for plugging wells and remediating sites with state funds in addition to enhancing the Commission’s ability to respond to emergency situations more effectively and efficiently.

October, November 1997
The Oil and Gas staff worked with partners in industry to conduct nine Production Incentive and Technology Seminars (PITTS) across the state in district office locations. In addition to Commission presentations on tax incentives, gas services, and district office information, each seminar included presentations from industry speakers on production incentives and technologies of interest in that area. Participants were provided electronic demonstrations of new information technology and a vast amount of information handouts and brochures from the Commission, the Comptroller’s office, and various industry associations were available.

October 3, 1997
The Commission conducts the first of seven hearings around the state concerning the rail safety and service crisis involving the Union Pacific Railroad at Houston. Besides the initial hearing in Austin, other hearings followed in Fort Worth, El Paso, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Harlingen.

November 29, 1997
The Commission filed its service recovery plan with the federal Surface Transportation Board in Ex Parte No. 573, Rail Service in the Western United States. The three part plan, designed to restore acceptable rail service to the Houston/Gulf Coast area which deteriorated to a crisis state as a result of Union Pacific Railroad’s failure to smoothly absorb the Southern Pacific in the merger of the two.

December 29, 1997
The Commission establishes a voluntary manufactured housing incentive program through the Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division.  16TAC§§15.401-15.450

January 5, 1998
Commission retitles 16TAC§§15.101-15.165 (the Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division's water heater rebate rule) as Propane Consumer Rebate Program, makes LPG dryers eligible for rebates, and amends the rule to comply with S.B. 925.

March 16, 1998
Commission repeals old LPG delivery-fee and loading-rack registration rules (16TAC§§15.1, 15.2, 15.21-27) and simultaneously adopts new delivery-fee and odorizer/importer registration rules (§§15.1-15.100) implementing S.B. 925, 75th Legislature.  16TAC§§15.1-15.100

March 17, 1998
Adopted amendment to Rule 46 (Fluid Injection) to provide for the issuance of area permits to cover enhanced recovery projects areas. The benefits for area permits are the streamlining of permitting of additional injection wells in the permit area, which allows operators to reconfigure injection patterns more quickly than under the current rule requirements.

Extended Statewide Rule 50 (Severance Tax Reduction of 50% for Enhanced Oil Recovery Projects) from January 1, 1998 to January 1, 2008.

April 1998
The first version of the Texas ACTI production query was released on the Commission web site with 1996-97 data.

April 22, 1998
Ken Lay, Chairman and CEO of Enron Corporation receives the second Texas Energy Pioneer Award for his outstanding contribution and leadership in the energy field. The recipient of the first Texas Energy Pioneer Award was former Texas Governor Bill Clements.

May 1998
The Commission began calculating a supplemental production factor each month to be applied to the preliminary reported statewide total for oil and gas well gas in order to more accurately estimate final production.

May 31, 1998
New Rule 30, Memorandum of Understanding between the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission becomes effective. MOU updates existing MOU between the two agencies concerning jurisdiction over management of waste from oil and gas exploration, development, production, and refining. The new rule greatly streamlines procedures and better clarifies jurisdictional boundaries so that the public and the regulated community know which agency to contact on a particular problem or incident. The new rule also includes agreements between the agencies on certain issues to ensure that our actions are coordinated, consistent, and comprehensive.

May 31, 1998
New Rule 30, Memorandum of Understanding between the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission becomes effective. MOU updates existing MOU between the two agencies concerning jurisdiction over management of waste from oil and gas exploration, development, production, and refining. The new rule greatly streamlines procedures and better clarifies jurisdictional boundaries so that the public and the regulated community know which agency to contact on a particular problem or incident. The new rule also includes agreements between the agencies on certain issues to ensure that our actions are coordinated, consistent, and comprehensive.

June 5, 1998
The Commission established a Rail Advisory Committee, consisting of railroads, shippers, and public officials, to study and make recommendations on a variety of rail issues, including service, competition, safety, and infrastructure requirements.  The Committee met throughout the fall, and concluded its task December 1, by making a number of recommendations to the Commission regarding the formulation of a state rail policy and the establishment of a state rail program.

June 30, 1998
Statewide Rule 83 (Tax Exemption for 3-year Inactive Wells) was revised to include the two year inactive well program. Under this program, any oil or gas well which has shown no more than one month of production in the last two years, and is brought back into production, may be eligible for up to a ten year severance tax exemption. As of December 1998, 73,502 wellbores have been designated as eligible for this exemption and 1,478 wellbores have been certified for the ten year tax exemption

July 8, 1998
The Commission filed its rail service recovery plan with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in the special oversight proceeding related to the merger of the Union Pacific/Southern Pacific Railroads.  The "consensus plan" was filed in association with the Society of the Plastics Industries, Inc., Chemical Manufacturers Association, Texas Chemical Council, Kansas City Southern Railroad, and Texas Mexican Railroad.  The plan called for unrestricted three railroad competition in the Houston/Gulf Coast area, expanded neutral switching, and competitive access for captive shippers.

July 14, 1998
Carole Keeton Rylander becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

August 1998
As a cost reduction item, gas supplements created in AOF fields to cover production are no longer mailed to operators.

August 10, 1998
Amendments to Rule 9 (Disposal Wells) and 46 (Fluid Injection into Productive Reservoirs) became effective. These amendments amended the notification requirements for permit applications and codified the Commission’s requirements for pressure test to determine mechanical integrity.

August 31, 1998
The Commission set new records in fiscal year 1998 for well plugging, site remediation, and salvage operations. A total of 1,604 wells were plugged and 281 sites were remediated with state funds. The Salvage Program generated $1.16 million for the Commission’s Oil Field Cleanup Fund.

September 1998
Electronic Compliance and Approval Process (ECAP): The Railroad Commission of Texas, in partnership with the oil and gas industry, proposed a strategy for improving efficiency in regulation and significantly reducing administrative operating costs for both. ECAP will ultimately enable the filing of all compliance permits (approximately 150,000 annually) and performance reports (approximately 2,000,000) through the Internet from a desktop computer. Total annual savings for the industry in Texas based upon only 25% utilization of electronic filing is expected to be $17.5 million. The drilling permit application process has been selected as the pilot step because it encompasses the first step in a well’s life cycle and because it will provide an infrastructure and solutions to technical elements such as security, authentication, submission of electronic plats, electronic signature, archiving and storage, and electronic transfer of applicable fees. Once developed, the completion application, organization permits, injection permits, pit permits, etc.

Advance Computational Technology Initiative (ACTI): Production figure from 1993 to the current production month became available on the web site. In addition to production totals, the relational data base environment of the Internet allows the data to be sorted in ways unavailable in the Commission mainframe. The public can access production totals by county, by field, by district, by lease, and by operator.

September 1, 1998
The Commission approved the use of a revised extended service, multiple well plugging contract designed to increase efficiencies in the bidding process and to achieve some economies of scale by bidding multiple leases with multiple wells under one contract. The revised contract allowed to the Commission to reduce the number of invitations to bid and attain overall lower plugging costs.

September 22, 1998
Statewide Rule 28 (Potential and Deliverability of Gas Wells to be Ascertained and Reported) was revised to increase the number of gas wells exempted from semiannual G-10 testing. Non-commingled gas wells with deliverabilites between 101 to 250 MCF a day in fields with no special field rules were exempted. Approximately 1000 wells were affected by this change.

The use of a revised well plugging priority system was approved by the Commission. The revised system improved on the previous system by placing additional emphasis on risk factor addressing environmental and safety concerns and allowed the Commission to focus its well plugging efforts on wells posing a greater threat to the environment.

November 1998
A new spot audit process of Form T-1, Page 2 was initiated in lieu of monthly auditing of every report.

The P-5 Financial Assurance Unit was connected, via the Internet, to the offices of the Secretary of State and the Comptroller of Public Accounts. This procedure enabled our unit to expedite the processing of the P-5 filings.

January 4, 1999
Tony Garza succeeded Barry Williamson as Railroad Commissioner .

January 4, 1999
Michael L. Williams succeeded Carole Keeton Rylander as Railroad Commissioner .

January 26, 1999
Tony Garza becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

September 14, 1999
Michael Williams becomes Chairman of the Railroad Commission.

1999
15,000th well is plugged under the Commission's plugging program.