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Texas Natural Resources Code - NAT RES § 40.003. Definitions

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In this chapter:

(1) “Barrel” means 42 United States gallons at 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

(2) “Coastal waters” means the waters and bed of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of the State of Texas, including the arms of the Gulf of Mexico subject to tidal influence, and any other waters contiguous thereto that are navigable by vessels with a capacity to carry 10,000 gallons or more of oil as fuel or cargo.

(3) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of the General Land Office.

(4) “Comprehensive assessment method” means a method including sampling, modeling, and other appropriate scientific procedures to make a reasonable and rational determination of injury to natural resources resulting from an unauthorized discharge of oil.

(5) “Comptroller” means the comptroller of public accounts.

(6) “Crude oil” means any naturally occurring liquid hydrocarbon at atmospheric temperature and pressure coming from the earth, including condensate.

(7)(A) “Damages” means compensation:

(i) to an owner, lessee, or trustee for any direct, documented loss of, injury to, or loss of use of any real or personal property or natural resources injured by an unauthorized discharge of oil;

(ii) to a state or local government for any direct, documented net loss of taxes or net costs of increased entitlements or public services;  or

(iii) to persons, including but not limited to holders of an oyster lease or permit;  persons owning, operating, or employed on commercial fishing, oystering, crabbing, or shrimping vessels;  persons owning, operating, or employed by seafood processing concerns;  and others similarly economically reliant on the use or acquisition of natural resources for any direct, documented loss of income, profits, or earning capacity from the inability of the claimant to use or acquire natural resources arising solely from injury to the natural resources from an unauthorized discharge of oil.

(B) With respect to natural resources, “damages” includes the cost to assess, restore, rehabilitate, or replace injured natural resources, or to mitigate further injury, and their diminution in value after such restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or mitigation.

(8) “Discharge of oil” means an intentional or unintentional act or omission by which harmful quantities of oil are spilled, leaked, pumped, poured, emitted, or dumped into or on coastal waters or at a place adjacent to coastal waters where, unless controlled or removed, an imminent threat of pollution to coastal waters exists.

(9) “Discharge cleanup organization” means any group or cooperative, incorporated or unincorporated, of owners or operators of vessels or terminal facilities and any other persons who may elect to join, organized for the purpose of abating, containing, removing, or cleaning up pollution from discharges of oil or rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife or other natural resources through cooperative efforts and shared equipment, personnel, or facilities.  Any third-party cleanup contractor, industry cooperative, volunteer organization, or local government shall be recognized as a discharge cleanup organization, provided the commissioner or the United States properly certifies or classifies the organization.

(10) “Federal fund” means the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

(11) “Fund” means the coastal protection fund.

(12) “Harmful quantity” means that quantity of oil the discharge of which is determined by the commissioner to be harmful to the environment or public health or welfare or may reasonably be anticipated to present an imminent and substantial danger to the public health or welfare.

(13) “Hazardous substance” means any substance, except oil, designated as hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 9601 et seq.) and designated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

(14) “Marine terminal” means any terminal facility used for transferring crude oil to or from vessels.

(15) “National contingency plan” means the plan prepared and published, as revised from time to time, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1321 et seq.) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 9601 et seq.).

(16) “Natural resources” means all land, fish, shellfish, fowl, wildlife, biota, vegetation, air, water, and other similar resources owned, managed, held in trust, regulated, or otherwise controlled by the state.

(16-a) “No intrinsic value” means that the cost of removal and disposal of a vessel or structure that has been abandoned or left in or on coastal waters exceeds the salvage value of the vessel or structure.

(16-b) “Numbered vessel” means a vessel:

(A) for which a certificate of number has been awarded by this state as required by Chapter 31, Parks and Wildlife Code;  or

(B) covered by a number in full force and effect awarded under federal law or a federally approved numbering system of another state.

(17) “Oil” means oil of any kind or in any form, including but not limited to crude oil, petroleum, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with wastes other than dredged spoil, but does not include petroleum, including crude oil or any fraction thereof, which is specifically listed or designated as a hazardous substance under Subparagraphs (A) through (F) of Section 101(14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 9601 et seq.) and which is subject to the provisions of that Act, and which is so designated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

(18) “Owner” or “operator” means:

(A) any person owning, operating, or chartering by demise a vessel;  or

(B) any person owning a terminal facility or a person operating a terminal facility by lease, contract, or other form of agreement.

(19) “Person in charge” means the person on the scene who is directly responsible for a terminal facility or vessel when a discharge of oil occurs or a particular duty arises under this chapter.

(20) “Person responsible” or “responsible person” means:

(A) the owner or operator of a vessel or terminal facility from which an unauthorized discharge of oil emanates or threatens to emanate;

(B) in the case of an abandoned vessel or terminal facility, the person who would have been the responsible person immediately prior to the abandonment;  and

(C) any other person who causes, allows, or permits an unauthorized discharge of oil or threatened unauthorized discharge of oil.

(21) “Pollution” means the presence of harmful quantities of oil from an unauthorized discharge in coastal waters or in or on adjacent waters, shorelines, estuaries, tidal flats, beaches, or marshes.

(22) “Response costs” means:

(A) with respect to an actual or threatened discharge of oil, all costs incurred in an attempt to prevent, abate, contain, and remove pollution from the discharge, including costs of removing vessels or structures under this chapter, and costs of any reasonable measures to prevent or limit damage to the public health, safety, or welfare, public or private property, or natural resources;  or

(B) with respect to an actual or threatened discharge of a hazardous substance, only costs incurred to supplement the response operations of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

(23) “Terminal facility” or “facility” means any waterfront or offshore pipeline, structure, equipment, or device used for the purposes of drilling for, pumping, storing, handling, or transferring oil and operating where a discharge of oil from the facility could threaten coastal waters, including but not limited to any such facility owned or operated by a public utility or a governmental or quasi-governmental body, but does not include any temporary storage facilities used only in connection with the containment and cleanup of unauthorized discharges of oil.

(24) “Trained personnel” means one or more persons who have satisfactorily completed an appropriate course of instruction developed under Section 40.302 of this code or all other training requirements as determined by the commissioner.

(25) “Trustee” means a natural resources trustee of the state as designated by the governor under federal law.

(26) “Unauthorized discharge of oil” means any discharge of oil, or any discharge of oil emanating from a vessel into waters adjoining and accessible from coastal waters, that is not authorized by a federal or state permit.

(27) “Unauthorized discharge of hazardous substances” means a spill or discharge subject to Subchapter G, Chapter 26, Water Code.  1

(28) “Vessel” includes every description of watercraft or other contrivance used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, whether self-propelled or otherwise, including barges.

1  V.T.C.A., Water Code § 26.261 et seq.

Cite this article: - Texas Natural Resources Code - NAT RES § 40.003. Definitions - last updated April 14, 2021 |

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