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Barnett Shale Plans and Strategies

Outreach, activities, rules, and potential strategies to address air quality and Barnett Shale emissions.

Region-based Investigative Activities

The TCEQ regional office receives complaints related to odor, noise, dust, truck traffic, property rights, and water rights.  The region has reviewed all phases of the oil and gas process from drilling to production and has also looked at "frac" sand and saltwater disposal operations. Most complaints are about odor and dust during the drilling phase.

Rule Changes

August 17, 2010 Update:
On July 28, 2010, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality proposed a new permit by rule and standard permit for oil and gas production facilities.  On August 31, 2010, the commission held a series of public meetings in Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Tyler, Midland, Amarillo, Beaumont, Waco, and Houston to answer questions concerning this proposal. 
On September 14, 2010, the TCEQ conducted a public hearing to receive comments on the proposed rulemaking. 

Title 30 Major and Minor Source Rules
The commission adopted major source and minor source rules in Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 117 to require substantial reductions in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from many NOx sources in the Dallas–Fort Worth eight-hour ozone nonattainment area. One of the primary sources of NOx emissions from the oil and gas industry in the Dallas–Fort Worth area is stationary internal combustion engines, such as gas-fired compressor engines. Both of these rules set stringent NOx emission limits on stationary internal combustion engines. The compliance dates for stationary internal combustion engines to meet these requirements are as follows:

  • Major sources: March 1, 2009
  • Minor sources:
    • Lean-burn gas-fired stationary engines: March 1, 2010
    • All other stationary engines: March 1, 2009

Pollution Prevention Outreach

Oil & Gas Facilities: Compliance Resources

The TCEQ provides several compliance resources for oil & gas facilities in Texas. TCEQ also provides free on-site, technical assistance for Texas companies to prevent pollution and conserve resources through the Site Assistance Visit Plus (SAV+) Program.

Workshops

Topics related to oil and natural gas issues were discussed at the agency's Environmental Trade Fair in May 2010. 

The TCEQ has held ten free workshops for oil and gas companies offering strategies on how to improve efficiency and prevent pollution. In 2008, workshops were held in Midland, Victoria, and Wichita Falls. In 2009, workshops were held in Austin, Longview, and Hebbronville.  In 2009, workshops were held in Austin, Longview, Hebbronville and Fort Worth.

Permitting

Preconstruction authorization review ensures that emissions from new and modified sources have representative worst-case emission estimates using the best information available and that the appropriate permit conditions are set.  All emission estimates are checked for accuracy and good engineering judgment.  Historically, a large percentage of these facilities were authorized under 30 TAC 106.352 pdf file which did not require TCEQ review or company registration.

The TCEQ has not required permit authorizations for oil and gas exploration (drilling) activities.  The Railroad Commission has jurisdiction over onsite activities in the drilling phase.  Once they enter the production phase, the initial permitting authorization by the TCEQ occurs at the first piece of equipment located downstream of the well.