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Osage Envtl., Inc. v. Railroad Comm'n of Texas

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20196
Nos. No. 03-08-5, (Tex. App. Ct., 07/24/2008)

A Texas appellate court upheld a state railroad commission order requiring a company to obtain a permit to receive and store oilfield waste consisting primarily of oil-based drill cuttings—bits of rock and soil that are byproducts of the drilling process—that it would then recycle into road base to sell to paving contractors. The commission's final order was consistent with the statutes and rules authorizing it to regulate oil and gas waste. The company argued that it was recycling, not disposing of or reclaiming, the drill cuttings that it received and, therefore, was not subject to regulation. The applicable statute, however, defines "oil and gas waste" to include drill cuttings. Moreover, the evidence demonstrates that the company's activities included, among other activities subject to commission regulation, the transportation, storage, handling, and discharge of oil and gas waste. The commission, therefore, properly required the company to obtain a permit for its activities.