HBA-KDB H.B. 2859 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2859 By: Junell Land & Resource Management 77/20/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE 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. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY 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. ANALYSIS 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. EFFECTIVE DATE June 11, 2001.