RRC Grants Waivers, Takes Actions to Speed Hurricane Harvey Recovery

September 02, 2017

AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) today announced several actions to speed recovery from the impacts of Hurricane Harvey. These actions will permit energy industry operators under RRC jurisdiction to focus on restoring operations as quickly as possible without compromising public safety and environmental protection.  

Among the actions taken by the RRC: 

  • Temporary administrative filing and reporting options for oil and gas operators impacted by Hurricane Harvey – The RRC’s P-5 Financial Assurance Department will delay severances for Form P-5 Organization Reports due Sept. 1, 2017 and Oct. 1, 2017. Rather than issuing severances for delinquent Form P-5 after the normal requirement of 30 days, the department will issue severances 60 days after the Form P-5 due date. Additionally, Rule 15 inactive well requirements, as well as all other administrative filings or reports will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Waivers permitting pipeline operators to use out-of-state personnel to participate in emergency response operations resulting from Hurricane Harvey – These waivers will be granted by the RRC on a case-by-case basis, for a period not to exceed 30 days, with possible extensions. The RRC enforces rules addressing operator qualifications established by the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA agrees with RRC action. Pipeline operators granted this waiver are required to track the covered tasks and locations performed by any non-qualified and/or other assigned personnel (including out-of-state) for the duration of the waiver. 
  • Waiver of certain licensing requirements for liquified petroleum gas (LP-gas) activities, employee certifications and vehicle operations – This is a blanket waiver granted by the Governor of Texas at the request of the RRC. This waiver temporarily reduces the regulations for operation of some LP-gas containers and system activities, certifications required for LP-gas workers and vehicles transporting LP-gas. Where applicable, licensing, certification and inspection requirements in an employee or vehicle’s home state must be met. Written notice to the Commission is required prior to any entity acting under this waiver. 

Chairman Christi Craddick said, “As Texans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, partnerships across all levels of government are assisting with critical recovery processes. In an effort to provide relief to our state's energy industry and help to speed up recovery operations in the energy sector, the Railroad Commission is taking action to extend deadlines on administrative paperwork and temporarily waive requirements while operators focus on safely getting oil and gas production back online. Texans are showing extraordinary resilience through this exceptionally difficult time, and the Railroad Commission is doing its part to support a strong recovery for our state.” 

Commissioner Ryan Sitton said, “Hurricane Harvey has been devastating, and I remain concerned for the safety of our friends and families in impacted communities all across Texas in the wake of this storm. As Texas continues rescue efforts and begins recovery, the Railroad Commission acknowledges the challenge operators face with regulatory filings, and are extending deadlines to provide relief. Our number one priority is public and environmental safety, and we continue to require operators to report spills, leaks or other incidents. I am incredibly proud of how Texans have come together to help one another and so appreciative of the efforts of Governor Abbott, members of Congress and the federal government agencies responding to this catastrophe.” 

Commissioner Wayne Christian said, “From rescue operations in flooded neighborhoods to providing warm meals for those displaced, Texans have stepped up and provided for their friends, neighbors, and even strangers during this time of great need. As Texans continue to come together and rebuild in aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the last thing we want anyone to have to worry about is late paperwork. I am proud to support this common-sense measure to provide relief to operators that have been impacted by this hurricane.” 


About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.