The bills, now headed to the House, are among a spate of legislation introduced this session to regulate various aspects of the industry, which channeled about $11 billion into the local economy last year, according to a recent report.
Activity in the massive underground gas field known as the Barnett Shale has slowed significantly because of the recession. But the hope among many is that lawmakers will put new rules in place this session ahead of any recovery.
With a record number of bills introduced this session – and a majority expected to die – some North Texas lawmakers said legislation affecting the Barnett Shale region is a high priority. The Barnett Shale spans 18 counties, including Tarrant, Denton and parts of Dallas.
One of the bills clearing the Senate would allow pipelines in Texas Department of Transportation rights-of-way. That means they could bypass some residential neighborhoods and possibly reduce the number of eminent-domain cases.
The other bill that passed, also introduced by Davis, would restrict the placement of injection wells that dispose of drilling wastewater from certain geological formations.
Conflicts between the needs of industry and the rights of property owners increased as mineral rights leasing and gas well drilling hit a feverish level last summer.