FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION SUSPENDS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS, DISMISSES PRORATION REQUEST
May 5, 2020 (Dallas, TX) – The Texas Railroad Commission announced today that, effective immediately, and without prior posted notice, it will begin suspending key environmental regulations and will grant permits relating to those regulations without hearings for the next year. In response to the historic crash of the oil market and the oversupply of oil, the Railroad Commission had been requested to control production through proration (one of its historic functions) to stabilize the industry and prevent waste. Instead, it dismissed the proration request and announced the suspension of fees and procedures relating to Texans’ environmental protections, including those relating to underground storage of hydrocarbons and plugging of nonproducing wells. It also relieved the oil industry from permit fees that help fund the agency’s work.
Chrysta Castañeda, the leading Democratic candidate for the open seat on the Commission, expressed her shock at the Commission’s wholesale abandonment of due process and relaxing of environmental regulations. “The actions of the Railroad Commission today are an unprecedented violation of due process and a grave threat to Texans’ health and our environment. The Commission acted under cover of darkness, suspending rules intended to protect our health and our environment. It ignored Texans’ rights to know what their government is doing. It suspended longstanding rules without any prior notice to the public, including rules that would give notice to surface owners regarding where hydrocarbons will be stored, and allowed for waste storage pits to be remain undrained. It relieved operators of their requirements to plug abandoned wells for the next year. The actions taken today show why it is time for new leadership. Instead of certainty to help stabilize the oil industry, the Commissioners favored a few interests over those of the rest of Texas, and Texans will end up paying the costs.”
Chrysta Castañeda is an engineer, attorney, and the leading Democrat running for the Texas Railroad Commission’s open seat. She finished first in the primary on March 3 and is endorsed by all Texas newspapers that covered the race. Her website is www.chrystafortexas.com and is on social media at #chrystafortexas.