TRC sets Eagle Ford transportation advisements

The Texas Railroad Commission-led Eagle Ford Task Force has adopted several advisements related to truck traffic and pipeline development in the region. The rapid increase in truck traffic on local roads in the Eagle Ford shale region has led to concerns regarding the deterioration of roads and hazards to public safety.

Pipeline infrastructure also was on the task force agenda. Several billion dollars worth of pipeline projects are under development in the region, and local communities have expressed concern with how the development of these massive projects will affect them.

“The construction of a 20-in. crude oil line running 50 miles through a county can take the place of 1,250 tank truck trips per day, so it is imperative that we get these pipes in the ground; however, we must ensure local communities are protected” said TRC Commissioner David Porter. “Our task force members, including representatives of pipeline companies, have agreed upon guidelines that will hold the pipeline industry accountable.”

The task force also addressed the housing issues currently facing the region. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs spoke about the programs they offer to combat rent increases and displaced families. Several task force members expressed their desire to see builders develop more permanent housing, rather than simply using temporary housing.

The task force adopted the following advisements regarding pipelines and roads.

Pipelines:

• Placement of pipelines should avoid steep hillsides and watercourses where feasible.

• Pipeline routes should take advantage of road corridors to minimize surface disturbance.

• When clearing is necessary, the width disturbed should be kept to a minimum and topsoil material should be stockpiled to the side for replacement during reclamation, accelerating successful revegetation.

• Proximity to buildings or other facilities occupied or used by the public should be considered, with particular consideration given to homes.

• Unnecessary damage to trees and other vegetation should be avoided.

• After installation of a new line, all rights-of-way should be restored to conditions compatible with existing land use.

Roads:

• Trucking companies partnering with the Texas Department of Public Safety to develop a program that would alert companies when their drivers receive moving violations or drivers license suspensions.

• Creation of road use agreements or trucking plans between operators and local authorities, including parameters such as:

1. Avoiding peak traffic hours, school bus hours, and community events.

2. Establishing overnight quiet periods.

3. Ensuring adequate off-road parking and delivery areas at all sites to avoid lane/road blockage.

The 24-member task force, created by Porter, listened to presentations and concerns from the Texas Department of Transportation, the Association of Energy Service Companies, the Texas Motor Transportation Association, and the general public in developing these advisements.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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