Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2859
By: Junell
Land & Resource Management


The Coltex Refinery previously occupied several acres of land in Mitchell
County.  After the refinery closed,  the acres were purchased by ATOFINA, a
chemical company.  Part of the land was offered to Colorado City, located
in Mitchell County, and the remainder  was given to the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice (TDCJ).  The Texas Natural Resource Conservation
Commission (TNRCC) discovered that this area was contaminated by seepage
from tanks left standing after the refinery was closed.  As part of the
remediation process and to implement a substantial Colorado River
restoration plan,  ATOFINA suggested that the area be turned into a
wildlife habitat.  Before the area can be turned into a wildlife habitat, a
conservation easement is required.  However, the contaminated area includes
land owned by TDCJ, which did not have the authority to give permission for
a conservation easement prior to the 77th Legislature.  House Bill 2859
requires the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, which governs TDCJ, to grant
a conservation easement to the Natural Area Preservation Association, Inc.,
which will have control of the wildlife preservation area. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 2859 amends law to require the Texas Board of Criminal Justice
(board), not later than January 31, 2002, to grant to the Natural Area
Preservation Association, Inc., (NAPA) a conservation easement covering
specified real property in Mitchell County.  The bill authorizes the board,
if NAPA is unable or refuses to accept the grant of the easement, to grant
the easement to another suitable person.  The bill provides that the
easement holder must use the easement in a manner that primarily promotes a
public purpose of the state and if the easement holder fails to use the
easement in such a manner the easement is automatically terminated and the
board is authorized to grant the easement to another person.  The bill
requires the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, the Parks and
Wildlife Department, and the General Land Office to enforce an easement
granted under the bill.  


June 11, 2001.