Rep. Van Taylor’s HB 1496 bill to take away local control of drilling


The bill is HB 1496 and it will strip municipalities of the right to control drilling and fracking.

After hearing about Taylor’s response to a phone call today about this bill, the only conclusions I can draw are:

  1. Industry handed him a bill and he filed it without knowing what it means.
  2. He is not telling the truth.
  3. All of the above

I asked Mr. Taylor to please explain to me the intent of HB 1496 and he told me it was only to be used to protect mineral owners from municipalities who pass ordinances which ban drilling in their city limits. Mr. Taylor stated the bill’s only goal was to require municipalities to pay fair market value compensation to the mineral owner in the event they could not access their minerals due to ordinances which prevent drilling.

Stop right there! Who compensates the mineral owner’s neighbors for the loss of property value, health, and enjoyment?

I asked Mr. Taylor why the mineral owners could not sue the city using the Regulatory Takings argument but never received a reason why this approach would not work for the mineral owner. Mr. Taylor repeatedly referred to the mineral owner as the “real property owner” and his bill appears to change the language from mineral owner to “real property owner.”

So what is the surface owner who pays the property taxes and makes improvements if not the “real property owner.”

So, Mr. Taylor told me the reason he was so concerned about “real property owner” was because the city of Farmersville, in Collin County, had passed ordinances effectively banning drilling within the city limits and the mineral owners could not access their minerals. The ordinance Sec. 5.103.3 of the Farmersville Code of Ordinance allows drilling “which is approved under the provision of a Special Use Permit, issued in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance” just like Denton. Mr. Taylor really needs to do his homework. When I asked Mr. Taylor why the mineral owners could not sue the city under using Regulatory Taking Mr. Taylor could not answer.
I told Mr. Taylor I would be seeking legal advice regarding the intent of his bill.

If you have questions, call Mr. Taylor at 214-642-0920.

Mr. Taylor also has a Facebook page which would probably be a good place to start if you have questions for him. I don’t have a lot of hope that Taylor can answer any questions.


About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. Tom says

    The “split estate” system of separating surface and mineral rights is one of the worst injustices of this whole thing… It’s such an awful, hideous system. Unless you are the mineral owner, that is.

    This guy (Taylor) just proves what has become a stronger and stronger suspicion: the people on the surface, even though they pay for the “land,” are really just considered squatters who sometimes get in the way of the “real” owners accessing “their” minerals. We really have no rights or consideration under the law or otherwise (except that by law we have to pay property taxes for the privilege of existing on the land).

    I hope to someday move to a place with no fossil fuels of any kind underneath it, but regardless, I will never buy land unless I can also buy 100% of the mineral rights. Which still doesn’t help against eminent domain pipelines, but at least covers some bases.

    • says

      I moved to Collin County because it is one of a tiny handful of TX counties that receives no revenue from o&g. Also, there is a concentration of industry executives who live in this county (they don’t live where drilling happens). That could all change in a heartbeat though.

      That Taylor is based in Plano so it’s easy to see that this bill was written by industry and handed to him. He can’t even explain it. Call him and ask about it.

  2. says

    Mr. Taylor was so worried about Farmersville that I checked the Texas Railroad Commission website. I found the last permit which was applied for and drilling completed was in 1998. The result was a dry hole.
    There is no drilling in Mr. Taylor’s district so who is he really trying to protect?
    I am sure if the people who voted for him knew he was not looking out for their best interest but a small group of mineral owners and the industry’s best interest he would not have enough money to buy his seat again.

  3. Anonymous says

    In Texas, don’t ever buy land for quality of life living. Many, many things can interfere with your quality of life, mostly O&G, power lines, pipelines, toll roads, freeways, etc., etc, etc. If you want to live here, buy the miminum and then always be prepared to RUN, RUN, RUN. RUN from Tx.

    • says

      Oh, my. This is the same strategy used by the Chair of our Railroad Commission of TX…Chairman Barry Smitherman! Many of us have been banned from commenting on his Facebook Page, as well!

      We understand from reliable sources, that this is the Texas GOP’s award-winning “online” media strategy…it’s all about Freedom.

  4. says

    I had to make a video in response to this insane HouseBill, and I took the time to include audio clips from an industry person and the Railroad Commission to drive home my points.

    When I called Taylor’s office (214 642 0920) to get more information, his staff told me that the HB1496 isn’t stopping cities from restricting drilling (enforcing zoning and setbacks), they just have to compen$ate those minerals owners that wish to exercise their property right$ to develop their FOREGONE mineral$. So the cities that actually enforce zoning laws (with Home Rule authority) need to have big pocket books to pay off forgone royalites (so mostly rich people would be able to afford to not get fracked!). In this video, the first phone call with me shows an industry (non-Chesapeake) official commenting on a drill site being close to the Cowboys Stadium, the other is a Railroad Commission employee commenting on his experience with rural drilling flowbacks only. I point out where the EPA misses a critical phase between fracking and connecting to the pipeline called “inital flowback” and how these fluids under pressure venting BTEX into OPEN hatch tanks are no better than flowbing back into open pits like in rural drilling. HB1496 by Rep Van Taylor from Plano has staff that defers air quality issues on concerns related to this proposed housebille to the RRC and TCEQ. I address that deficient as well in this video. The primary purpose of a homestead/residential area is to NOT be in an unhealthy industrialized area…those folks who buy property with other agendas to develop minerals needs to buy land in rural areas…this is a no brainer. This bill conflicts with these two state laws.
    1) TEX LG. CODE ANN. A§ 253.005 : Texas Statutes — Section 253.005: LEASE OF OIL, GAS, OR MINERAL LAND
    “(c) A well may not be drilled in the thickly settled part of the municipality..”

    2) Texas Administrative Code, Title 30, Part 1, Chapter 101, Subchapter A,
    Rule 101.4, Environmental Quality, Nuisance

    No person shall discharge from any source whatsoever one or more
    air contaminants or combinations thereof, in such concentration and
    of such duration as are or may tend to be injurious to or to adversely
    affect human health or welfare, animal life, vegetation, or property, or
    as to interfere with the normal use and enjoyment of animal life, vegetation,
    or property.===============================­===========

    • says


      First, I do not agree with your habit of calling up officials and other people, recording their conversations and posting them on YouTube. This harms the rest of us because they think we are guilty by association and therefore will be reluctant to talk with us. I DO NOT WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS BEHAVIOR! Please do not post any more of these videos on my blog or Facebook wall.

      Second, it would be helpful if you would stay on topic! The topic of HB 1496 is NOT flowback. The topic is that it will take away local control, which this bill will do regardless of what Taylor’s office claims.

  5. Westchester Neighbor says

    The “discovery” of a [very dangerous] method to squeeze more fossil fuel out of the Earth keeps hope alive for the Oil and Gas Industry. But for those of us who just want to live healthy, happy lives, shale gas development is a bad choice from every perspective.

    Representative Van Taylor doesn’t see what we see, hear what we hear, and/or smell what we smell because he lives in Plano, TX! And to propose this Bill, he clearly doesn’t mind being used and needs to do a serious check of his moral compass. Collin County residents may wish to take note of this. Who is he really representing down there in Austin, TX? Amen.

    • says

      There are many mineral owners in Collin County who live here precisely because there is no drilling here. Apparently they do not mind that they profit from others’ misery.

  6. says

    Rep. Van Taylor’s Facebook Comment to Tim R. (Tim’s comment was deleted).:

    “Tim, right now cities can stop people from getting to their property- mineral interests- and never have to pay them. Confiscation with out compesation is just plain wrong- no matter where you live.” [emphasis added.]

    Really? Wait. Maybe Representative Taylor would like to explain how the State of Texas has gotten away with taking the “mineral property” of Middle Class Texans without compensation (via the Statewide Rule 37). Thousands of cases of this in the Barnett Shale, alone. Hello, Representative Taylor!!! Anyone home?

  7. Anonymous says

    The fact is that mineral interests in populated areas SHOULD be less valuable than minerals out of populated areas!!!! If you buy minerals in populated areas, you ought to be taught a lesson that your purchase has little or no value.

    • WCGasette says

      But the easily obtained minerals are depleted and the industry’s insatiable desire for them makes the process more and more invasive. It’s the nature of the beast or they wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to convince everyone in NTX that it’s all safe and beneficial to us. It’s only about the fossil fuel. It was never about us.

  8. says

    I was forced into a business relationship with an industry I detest and a company I caught doing reprehensible things. This bill will snowball on that along with the very bad rule 37 bills.

    You sound like a broken record. Do you think it advances your industry to remind people about how their private property gets stolen and how they are forced into business relationships?

      • dentonite says

        You silly gasholes should avoid using big words especially on the internets. What you just admitted is that no one should ever buy property in Texas because you are screwed if you don’t get the mineral rights and you are screwed if you do.

        Hint for gasholes using the internets: Caveat Emptor!

  9. Your Neighbor says

    Having mineral rights doesn’t mean you have to sign a lease. Wouldn’t you think it was strange if Mr. Tillman moved out of Dish but kept his minerals or signed a lease?

    • says

      Oh sure. When you only have a small % of the minerals and can’t stop the drilling, you are left with these choices:
      1. sign a lease that will get protections for the other people who live there.
      2. don’t sign a lease, get no protections and the money goes to whom?
      Let me take a guess which choice you like best if it’s someone else and which choice you like best if it’s you.