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TNLA Expresses Rule Change Concerns

The Texas Nursery and Landscape Association (TNLA) is working to ensure that a recent railroad commission does not adversely affect the state's landscape professionals.

A Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) proposal would eliminate the variance enjoyed by contractors maintaining landscape irrigation systems, planting small and medium landscape elements, or planting young nursery stock that requires digging less than 16 inches into the earth.

TNLA Staff participated in the commission meeting and made clear the association's concerns with possible rule changes. The TNLA is working with the RRC and other interested parties to ensure that landscape professionals and licensed irrigators are not over burdened with having to ''Call Before You Dig'' when installing plant material or doing maintenance on irrigation systems.

According to the TNLA, the association and its members respect the danger of breaking underground pipelines when digging, but do not feel that calls to mark underground utilities when planting nursery stock no more than 16 inches deep is warranted. Currently, Texas statute exempts agriculture from having to make these calls when installing plant material and the RRC is unable to change the landscape professional's exemption unless the legislature gives them that authority.

For irrigation maintenance and all other non-agriculture digging, the RRC proposal would make everyone ''Call Before You Dig.'' On non-agriculture digging, the TNLA believes that a 12 inch dig threshold would be adequate since waiting for surveyors to come out every time you intend to scratch the surface of the earth would be unworkable.

The RRC is currently accepting comments on the proposed change to the Administrative Code, Chapter 18, which regulates pipeline safety when excavating sites in Texas (including residential and commercial). In early 2012, the RRC will incorporate all the stakeholder's comments and produce a proposed rule that will be published in the Texas Register. If needed, TNLA will have another opportunity to comment on these rules prior to them going before the RRC Commission for a vote.

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December 10, 2019, 6:53 pm PDT

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