Texas Natural Resources Code

Sec. § 40.108
Derelict Vessels and Structures


(a)

A person may not, without the consent of the commissioner, leave, abandon, or maintain any structure or vessel in or on coastal waters, on public or private lands or at a public or private port or dock if the structure or vessel is in a wrecked, derelict, or substantially dismantled condition and the commissioner finds the structure or vessel to be:

(1)

involved in an actual or threatened unauthorized discharge of oil;

(2)

a threat to public health, safety, or welfare;

(3)

a threat to the environment; or

(4)

a navigation hazard.

(b)

The commissioner may remove and dispose of or contract for the removal and disposal of any vessel or structure described in Subsection (a) and may recover the costs of removal, storage, and disposal from the owner or operator of the vessel or structure. Except as provided by Subsection (d-1), the recovered costs shall be deposited to the credit of the coastal protection fund established by Section 40.151 (Coastal Protection Fund).

(c)

The commissioner must comply with the requirements of Section 40.254 (Orders and Hearings) before removing or disposing of a vessel or structure described in Subsection (a), except that the commissioner may remove a vessel or structure without first providing notice and an opportunity for a hearing if the owner or operator of the vessel or structure, or a person acting on behalf of the owner or operator, is not taking reasonable steps to abate the discharge, threat, or hazard described by Subsection (a) and the vessel or structure:

(1)

is involved in an actual or threatened unauthorized discharge of oil;

(2)

creates an imminent and significant threat to life or property; or

(3)

creates a significant navigation hazard.

(d)

The commissioner may dispose of the vessel or structure in any reasonable and environmentally sound manner. The commissioner shall give preference to disposal options that generate a monetary benefit from the vessel or structure. If no value may be generated from the vessel or structure, the commissioner shall select the least costly method. Except as provided by Subsection (d-1), proceeds from the sale of the vessel or structure shall be used for removal, storage, and disposal costs, and any proceeds in excess of the cost of removal, storage, and disposal shall be deposited to the credit of the coastal protection fund.

(d-1)

If the commissioner has actual notice that a person holds a security interest in a vessel or structure subject to removal or disposal under this section, notice must be given to the person in the manner provided by Section 40.254 (Orders and Hearings). If the vessel or structure is not removed within a reasonable time as specified in the preliminary report under Section 40.254 (Orders and Hearings), the commissioner may remove and dispose of, or contract for the removal and disposal of, any vessel or structure described by Subsection (a). The interest of the state in recovering removal, storage, and disposal costs shall have priority over the interest of the holder of a security interest in a vessel or structure described by Subsection (a). Proceeds from the sale of the vessel or structure in excess of the cost of removal, storage, and disposal shall be paid to the holder of the security interest in the vessel or structure in an amount not to exceed the amount necessary to satisfy the secured debt.

(d-2)

For purposes of this section, the term “structure” includes a vehicle as defined by Section 502.001, Transportation Code, if the vehicle is:

(1)

located in coastal waters; and

(2)

in a wrecked, derelict, or substantially dismantled condition.

(d-3)

The commissioner shall make information on abandoned vessels and structures accessible on the General Land Office’s Internet website and in any other medium, as determined by the commissioner, to the public and to a person receiving notice as required by Section 40.254 (Orders and Hearings).

(e)

The commissioner by rule may establish a system for prioritizing the removal or disposal of vessels or structures under this section.

(f)

This section does not impose a duty on the state to remove or dispose of a vessel or structure or to warn of a hazardous condition on state land.
Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 10, Sec. 1, eff. March 28, 1991.
Amended by:
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 216 (H.B. 2096), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1324 (H.B. 3306), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 259 (H.B. 1625), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.
Source

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Jun. 7, 2021