Contact: Amy Hunt
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GOP RAILROAD COMMISSION CANDIDATE’S ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATIONS DISQUALIFY HIM, CASTAÑEDA SAYS
(DALLAS) – Jim Wright, Republican candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission, is responsible for a South Texas oil field waste disposal facility that was shut down by the Railroad Commission after inspectors found multiple environmental violations, according to a report published today by The Houston Chronicle.
Railroad Commission inspectors found that Wright’s company, DeWitt Recyclable Products, LLC, left “waste stockpiled directly on the ground, storage tanks for waste materials leaking onto the ground, and multiple unpermitted pits of waste,” according to the report.
“These acts disqualify my opponent from serving as Railroad Commissioner,” says Chrysta Castañeda, Wright’s Democratic opponent. “If Jim Wright can’t follow the rules the Railroad Commission is sworn to uphold, Texans cannot trust him to represent them as their Commissioner."
DeWitt Recyclable Products was designed to take oil-soaked muds from drilling sites and other waste products and recycle them into crude oil, diesel fuel and clean dirt.
The newspaper reported that the facility officially opened in 2016, but was shut down by the Railroad Commission in 2017 for the environmental violations. “Railroad Commission officials fined the facility more than $181,000 for the violations and held Wright responsible," according to the Chronicle.
And, Wright has been sued by other companies relating to the cleanup. Wright has been sued by creditors and vendors seeking roughly $4 million, the newspaper reported.
Among those fighting with Wright are Houston storage tank companies Tidal Tank and McAda Drilling Fluids, which seek payment for storage tanks they rented to Wright's company. When the facility closed, “large amounts of oil field waste remained inside the rented tanks, solidified and required expensive cleaning work by a crew in hazmat suits,” the newspaper reported. “A state district court in Houston awarded Tidal $666,860 in damages in an Oct. 2017 decision. McAda is still seeking payment of more $72,000 in invoices from DeWitt, according to a May lawsuit filed in state district court in Cuero.”
Wright is also trying to regain bond money from the Railroad Commission relating to the environmental cleanup costs and is being sued over what his creditors allege is a corporate shell game to hide the money from them. As the paper reported, McAda claims “that he opened a bank account under DeWitt’s name after the company was dissolved to collect the $500,000 in bond money and transferred those funds" to a new company Wright formed "to keep those funds away from creditors." McAda contends that Wright will do the same with the remaining $300,000 in bond money if he receives it from the Railroad Commission.
"Today's reporting reveals Wright's financial motivation to be Railroad Commissioner: to take back the bond money the state required to clean up the toxic waste hazard his company created,” Castañeda says. “I ask my fellow Texans to vote against Wright's self-interests and restore integrity to the Railroad Commission by voting for me on November 3."
Chrysta Castañeda is an engineer, attorney, and Democratic candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission. Her campaign website is www.chrystafortexas.com and is on social media at #chrystafortexas.