RRC Open Meeting Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

The next RRC Open Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday June, 22 at 10:30 a.m. (please note the different start time). The virtual meeting can be viewed live at this link: http://www.adminmonitor.com/tx/rrc/open_meeting/20210622/

News

Christi Craddick's Press Room

News Items - 2018

  • Chairman Craddick Emphasizes Balance in Managing Environment, Energy Growth

    October 11, 2018

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick today spoke to the Texas Land and Mineral Owners Association (TLMA) at their statewide members meeting in San Antonio about the common sense regulatory approach necessary to protect Texas land and water resources and the land and mineral rights of all Texans as the state’s energy industry continues to grow.

    “The Railroad Commission and Texas land and mineral owners agree that the great economic gains generated from oil and gas production in Texas are meaningless without the health and safety of our citizens and environment,” Craddick said. “In Texas, we know that economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. The Railroad Commission, industry and the public have worked together to achieve balanced policies that benefit our state and protect our communities and natural resources. Together, we will ensure our state’s long-term energy growth and overall success.”

    TLMA is a nonpartisan association of Texas land and mineral owners that engages in direct advocacy to achieve a business and legal environment that promotes a healthy oil and gas industry in Texas by ensuring that the rights of mineral and surface owners are protected; a reduction in litigation; and, the protection of groundwater resources.

     

    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Chairman Craddick Highlights Growing Energy Revenues for Tax Association

    September 28, 2018

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick today addressed the current and future outlook of the Texas energy industry and its economic impact to the state at the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA) annual meeting in Austin.

    “The energy industry supports nearly one-third of our state’s economy, generating approximately $30 million a day. This revenue is critical in helping fund important services for Texans, such as public schools, public safety, and roads,” Craddick said. “Thanks to Texas’ incredible energy growth over the last year, the Rainy Day Fund is forecast to hold a balance of $11.9 billion by end of fiscal 2019, the largest ending balance in the fund’s history.

    “The industry’s ability to innovate has made Texas the most profitable region in the world for energy development,” Craddick said. “And, the Railroad Commission’s pro-business regulatory structure drives companies to choose to do business in our state creating jobs, creating prosperity and ensuring Texas remains at the forefront of global oil and gas production for the foreseeable future.”

    TTARA is a non-profit organization of businesses and individuals from a range of economic sectors and activities in Texas who are interested in state and local fiscal policies, and the way those policies impact the state’s economy.

     

    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Railroad Commission Closes Out 1st Mining Permit Issued by the Agency

    Commissioners Approve final reclamation work on Alcoa Mine Acreage
    August 21, 2018

    AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission today closed out its first-ever surface mining permit issued in 1976. The permit, number 001 was issued to Alcoa USA Corp for the Sandow Mine. Commissioners unanimously approved the release of Alcoa USA Corp.’s surface mining bonds after the company met its final reclamation obligations on more than 4,800 acres at the Sandow Mine in Milam and Lee counties.

    "Today’s release of the Sandow Mine permit is the culmination of decades of hard work and diligence by hundreds of people at the Railroad Commission to protect our environment while making sure we maximize the state’s natural resources,” said Denny Kingsley, RRC Surface Mining Director. “We release the site knowing it is in great shape for its next chapter in the story of Texas.”


    RRC reclamation regulations ensure that mined land is returned to a condition that is as good as, or better than, it was before mining. Demonstrating the success of state environmental protection rules, the former mine is part of the Sandow Lakes Ranch. 

    During the life of the permit, Commission staff conducted more than an estimated 1,000 inspections at the mine and processed almost 900 permitted actions for this permit. 

    Approximately 200 million tons of lignite have been produced from the Sandow Mine, since the Commission approved of the mine’s permit more than 40 years ago. At its most active period, the RRC’s Sandow mine permit encompassed almost 18,000 acres. Mining began at the Sandow Mine in the 1950s before mining regulations were in place with lignite coal used to generate electricity to power Alcoa’s aluminum smelter operations in Rockdale.  

    To view historical photos of the Sandow Mine, click here

  • Chairman Craddick Convenes Energy Industry to Address Human Trafficking

    July 10, 2018

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick yesterday joined Governor Greg Abbott’s Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) and energy industry representatives to raise awareness about human trafficking and how the energy industry can work to prevent and address the issue in Texas. The meeting was hosted by the Texas Oil and Gas Association in Austin.

    “The exploitation of Texans who are forced to work in abusive circumstances is intolerable,” Craddick said. “I applaud the Governor’s efforts to educate industry and the public on human trafficking and establish preventative networks and resources to better protect our citizens. I am committed to assisting the Governor in working with industry members to coordinate the distribution of information and resources for this purpose.”

    The CSTT was established within the Office of the Governor in 2015 and works to prevent victimization, identify and recover survivors, provide coordinated services to help them heal and thrive, and bring those involved in these heinous crimes to justice. Learn more about these strategies by visiting https://gov.texas.gov.

    For more information on human trafficking occurring in Texas and training resources available to the public, please visit the attorney general’s website at https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/human-trafficking.

    If you suspect human trafficking, report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888. If the situation is an emergency, call 911.

    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • RRC Chairman Craddick and PUC Chairman Walker Working to Ensure Availability of Natural Gas for Reliable Electric Service this Summer

    June 26, 2018

    RRC and PUC seals

    AUSTIN – June 26, 2018

    Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick and Public Utility Commission Chairman DeAnn Walker are urging natural gas pipeline operators and electric generation plant operators to work together to ensure availability of pipeline transmission capacity to meet electric generation needs at times of peak demand during the hot Texas summer. Craddick and Walker are asking stakeholders to work with the Railroad Commission’s Oversight and Safety Division to schedule required pipeline testing outside of peak demand months. During the required tests, pipelines are unable to deliver natural gas, which fuels electric generation plants across Texas.

    “Pipeline safety is one of the most important areas we regulate at the Railroad Commission,” Chairman Craddick said. 

    “Integrity testing of gas transmission pipelines is a critical part of our safety requirements and should be scheduled to maximize operational availability. We must all work together to make sure the citizens of Texas are able to keep their air conditioning running, fans blowing, and lights on during the hot Texas summer.”

    “Gas fired electric generation plants make up nearly 40% of our ERCOT’s electric generation, so we need to be sure they are online during times of peak demand,” said Chairman Walker. “With our state’s robust economy and growing population, demand is higher than ever. Therefore, teamwork is the key to a successful summer for all Texans.”

    The Railroad Commission and Public Utility Commission have issued the attached notice to natural gas pipeline operators and electric generation plant operators.

    Railroad Commission and Public Utility Commission staff are monitoring electric generation needs during peak demand months and assisting with necessary coordination of pipeline transmission capacity to best ensure natural gas availability for electric generation facilities.

  • Railroad Commission Joins PUCT & TCEQ in Supporting Repeal of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

    April 26, 2018

    AUSTIN –The Railroad Commission of Texas joins the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Public Utility Commission of Texas in submitting comments on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan. 

    A letter signed by the executive directors of the RRC, TCEQ and PUCT was submitted to EPA today, Thursday, April 26 by TCEQ. The letter includes comments on EPA’s proposed repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Electric Utility Generating Units, otherwise known as the Clean Power Plan. 

    “The PUCT, RRC and TCEQ support the repeal of the Clean Power Plan,” the letter states. 

    All three agencies previously submitted comments opposing the Clean Power Plan. Those comments were submitted Dec. 1, 2014 and are included in the most recent submission.

     

  • RRC Commissioners Appoint Executive Director

    April 10, 2018

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick and Commissioners Ryan Sitton and Wayne Christian today voted unanimously to appoint Wei Wang to serve as Executive Director of the Commission, effective immediately. Wang has served as Interim Executive Director since Oct. 16, 2017. He joined the Commission in 2013 as Chief Auditor before being appointed Chief Financial Officer. 

    Chairman Craddick said, “We conducted a thorough search for an executive director, with several top-quality candidates. Wei’s knowledge of the agency and experience in Texas government made him the clear choice to help us chart a new course for the agency focusing on modernization and bringing greater efficiency and effectiveness to the Commission.” 

    Commissioner Sitton said, “Serving in an interim capacity, Wei has proven himself an outstanding leader who is highly respected by Commission staff. As our Chief Financial Officer, Wei brought fiscal discipline to the agency, and as executive director he will bring that same focus and attention to detail to every aspect of what we do here every day for the people of Texas.”Commissioner Christian said, “Wei is a deeply committed public servant who will lead RRC staff aggressively into the future at a critical time in the energy industry’s history. First as CFO, and most recently as interim executive director, Wei has been indispensable in the Commission’s work to make sure the Commission is regulating the energy industry in a way that ensures safe, responsible production, while removing barriers to job creation and economic success.” 

    Wang began his career in state government with the State Auditor’s Office. Prior to joining RRC, Wang served as an advisor in the Office of the Governor.  He established the Governor’s Compliance Division in 2011 and served as its inaugural director until joining the RRC. Wang also has private sector experiences working for a healthcare company and a national consulting and CPA firm. 

    “I am deeply honored and humbled by the confidence the Commissioners have shown in selecting me to lead such an incredible team of public servants at the Railroad Commission,” Wang said.

    “I am always mindful of our enormous responsibility to the people of Texas. I look forward to working with the Commissioners to implement their vision ensuring public safety and maintaining a fair, stable regulatory environment for the energy industry.” 

    Wang holds a Master’s degree in administration studies and a Master of Science degree in computer science, both from Boston University.  He is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Information System Auditor. He is a graduate of the Governor’s Executive Development Program and Texas Fiscal Officer Academy. 

    Wei Wang

  • Chairman Christi Craddick Honored for Regulatory Leadership

    March 28, 2018

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick is being recognized by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association as the organization’s 2018 Hats Off Award recipient. The award is TIPRO’s highest honor. 

    Chairman Craddick was honored for her leadership in ensuring safe, responsible energy production in Texas, while reducing or removing unnecessary regulatory barriers that can restrict job growth and the energy industry’s significant impact on the Texas economy.

    “I’m deeply honored to receive this year’s Hats Off award,” Craddick said. 

    “The energy industry is a cornerstone of the Texas economy, and the Railroad Commission works to maintain a regulatory environment that ensures environmental protection and economic growth. Whether it’s through modernization of the agency’s IT systems, working with the Legislature to fund more inspectors or eliminating antiquated regulations, we are constantly looking for ways to better serve Texas.”

    Chairman Christi Craddick is being recognized by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association
    RRC Chairman Craddick is congratulated by her parents, Nadine & the Hon. Tom Craddick.

    RRC Chairman Craddick and TIPRO Chairman Allen Gilmer.

    RRC Chairman Craddick is presented with TIPRO’s Hats Off 2018 Award by TIPRO Chairman Allen Gilmer.

    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Chairman Craddick Furthers Efficiency, Modernization of RRC

    Releases Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative Phase Two
    March 27, 2018

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick today announced the second phase of the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative as part of an ongoing effort to streamline regulation at the agency. The initiative reduces administrative requirements on the oil and gas industry while ensuring the public and environment are protected.

    “At the Railroad Commission, we are removing unnecessary burdens on business and implementing technology upgrades that allow our staff, the public and industry to access and submit data and information in an easier, more efficient manner,” Craddick said.

    “Key changes like these are part of our overall goal to modernize the agency, ultimately saving staff time and reducing the cost of doing business at the Commission.

    “The recommendation to reduce W-10 testing requirements, eliminating data our staff no longer needs, is estimated to save the oil industry approximately $52 million a year,” Craddick said. “These cost-savings can then be passed on to create more jobs for Texans and generate more revenue for state coffers through increased energy production.”

    The initiative results from a review of the Railroad Commission’s regulatory processes and takes careful consideration to maintain the strength of public and environmental protections, correlative rights and measures designed to prevent the waste of resources.

    Phase two of Chairman Craddick’s Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative includes the following items:

    • Identify agency reporting requirements that can be eliminated while maintaining strong environmental protections, saving staff and industry time and costs.
      • After the initial Oil Well Status Report (W-10) test or optional allocation, operators may choose to eliminate subsequent W-10 tests and filings except for limited circumstances, including:
        • recompletion of the well into a different regulatory field
        • reclassification of the well from gas to oil
        • resume production from a well classified as inactive as defined in §3.15 (relating to Surface Equipment Removal Requirements and Inactive Wells)
        • reinstate an allowable
        • as required by Commission order, special field rule, or other rule
      • Operators of wells listed on the proration schedule must continue to report the producing or shut-in status of each well on the annual well status report.
    • Modify the agency’s Geographic Information System mapping tool to allow for an area of review to be identified and downloadable in a CSV file for easier public and industry use.
    • Expand online use of forms for easier compliance and transmittal of information, saving staff and industry time and costs.
    • Modify Acreage Designation data sheets (P-16, Attachments 1A and 2A) to allow staff and industry to utilize a downloadable file for easier manipulation.
    • Improve the agency’s online system to allow industry to file a blanket Producer’s Transportation Authority and Certificate of Compliance (P-4) form for gatherers by lease or by operator rather than changing the name on each well, saving staff and industry time and costs.  

    The initiative’s recommendations are currently in the process of being implemented with the exception of rule amendments related to W-10 testing requirements. Staff anticipates amendments to W-10 testing requirements will be presented at an upcoming Railroad Commission conference.

    Phase one of the Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative was launched in 2016 and successfully completed last year. More information on phase one of the initiative can be found here.

     

    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Craddick: Ethanol mandates help Wall Street, and hurt Texas

    March 08, 2018

    HOUSTON – In case you missed it, please see Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick’s editorial on reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and capping Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) prices, as published in the Houston Chronicle today. The editorial can be read online here and below. News organizations are welcome to post or publish this editorial in their respective publications or websites.


    Ethanol mandates help Wall Street, and hurt Texas
    By Chairman Christi Craddick


    The Lone Star State is blessed with strong energy and agriculture industries, both of which sustain thousands of jobs all over our state and play an important role to our national and economic security.

    The mining and utilities industry is the largest contributor to Texas' GDP, and the food and fiber system is ranked second.

    Unfortunately, both industries are falling victim to a broken regulatory framework out of Washington, D.C. Right now, there is debate surrounding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a federal program requiring transportation fuels to contain a certain amount of renewable resources such as ethanol, specifically as it regards the price of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs).

    The EPA made up RINs with the goal of designing a minimally burdensome enforcement mechanism for the RFS. In fact, when they were first introduced, RINs sold for a penny or two each. Now, however, RIN prices have skyrocketed and cost as high as $1.40 each. These increased costs are putting considerable pressure on Texas refiners as they have had to direct more and more of their bottom line to paying these fees, rather than reinvesting in the state's economy. As a result, thousands of Texas refinery jobs are at risk.

    The most unfortunate part about the RINs system is that those who benefit from it are neither corn farmers nor refinery workers, but rather Wall Street speculators who reap profits from RINs.

    Our own governor recognized the threat of high RIN prices on Texans' jobs and wrote to the EPA asking for relief, explaining that "current implementation of this dated federal mandate severely impacts Texas' otherwise strong economy and jeopardizes the employment of hundreds of thousands of Texans. "

    And U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is currently leading the effort in Washington to defend the interests of Texans from this broken system. Senator Cruz has called for a "win-win" solution that will simultaneously bring RINs prices down and protect Texas refinery jobs, while enabling Texas farmers to grow and sell more corn.

    The White House is meeting with senators from Texas and the Midwest and interests representing ethanol producers, refiners and unions. Negotiations are ongoing.

    Senator Cruz and those working to achieve a fair and reasonable solution are focused on allowing all industries across the state to grow — from agriculture, to oil and gas, to renewable and alternative sources of energy — and take full advantage of the agricultural and energy resources we have right here at home. Texans should support efforts to reform the RFS and cap RIN prices, for the good of the Texas economy and all Texans.

     


    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Chairman Craddick Directs RRC to Ensure Federal Tax Cuts Benefit Gas Customers

    Orders Review of Tax Cut Impacts on Gas Utility Rates
    January 23, 2018

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick today directed RRC staff to assess the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on Texas gas utility rates to ensure companies pass on to customers the savings resulting from the corporate tax reduction. The Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent as of January 1, 2018. 

    “These tax cuts are significant, and as a regulator, our role is to make sure Texas utilities implement them in a way that benefits consumers first,” Craddick said.

    “Considering President Trump’s tax reform plan and the reduced corporate tax rate, we will look at the effect on gas rates to guarantee companies share their savings with their customers, allowing Texans to keep more of their paycheck as the Act intended.”


    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Craddick: When it Comes to NAFTA, Mend it. Don’t end it.

    January 17, 2018

    HOUSTON – In case you missed it, please see Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick’s editorial on the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for Texas and the state’s energy industry, as published in the Houston Chronicle last week. The editorial can be read online here and below. News organizations are welcome to post or publish this editorial in their respective publications or websites.

    When it Comes to NAFTA, Mend it. Don’t end it.
    By Chairman Christi Craddick


    Many Texans support NAFTA based on the premise that it allows American workers and businesses to compete on a level playing field with anyone in the world.

    President Trump has tapped into the concern of many workers that international trade is too often tilted against American interests. From the dumping of Chinese steel to foreign governments propping up domestic companies for an unfair competitive advantage, there are legitimate concerns about trade practices that harm American industry.

    When you couple these concerns with a confiscatory tax policy that sends jobs and investment overseas, American industry - particularly American manufacturing - has been losing jobs for a generation.

    But Texans know when it comes to trade agreements like NAFTA, the answer is to mend it, not end it. President Trump must be urged to recognize the agreement's importance to our state, because the alternative would be detrimental to the Texas and American economy.

    Texas is the gateway to trade with Latin America. We're also the nation's leading exporter to our southern neighbor. Our people, products and innovations flow south in record numbers, not only creating opportunities abroad, but jobs back home.

    And with the privatization of the Mexican energy sector, new opportunities are emerging that will unleash energy jobs, opportunity and investment in Texas and across the United States.

    In the last two years, natural gas exports to Mexico have doubled. Over the course of the next two years, six new pipelines will open, carrying American gas south to Mexico. This new dynamic is a big part of the reason that the United States became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in 60 years this past June, boosting not only our state's economy but security abroad for our friends and allies. It's also expected that offshore leasing of Mexican oil fields could reach $50 billion in investment.

    As the U.S. seeks to re-negotiate NAFTA, the Office of the United States Trade Representative describes its energy policy goals to, "Preserve and strengthen investment, market access, and state-owned enterprise disciplines benefitting energy production and transmission and support North American energy security and independence, while promoting continuing energy market-opening reforms." If these goals are met, it will mean energy growth and prosperity for Texas and the U.S.

    As a state with a 1,254-mile international border, we also know how critical it is that we cooperate with our North American neighbors on grid interconnections. Grid stability benefits from the international exchange of energy and electricity resources.

    Investments in a diverse energy supply, the means to transport energy resources, and the generation of conventional and renewable sources is vital to our future. Doing it as North American partners is just as critical.

    We need a North American energy strategy, in partnership with Mexico and Canada, that leverages our shared energy potential. We can achieve energy security as a continent, greatly reducing our reliance on hostile sources of energy, if we work across shared borders to advance shared economic and security interests.

    Doing this requires not withdrawing from NAFTA or harming longstanding trade relationships with our neighbors, but sitting down to hash out agreements about renewable standards and environmental commitments, focusing on joint infrastructure projects, and agreeing to 21st century rules and regulations that advance our collective prosperity.

    Protectionist policies, though well-meaning, could greatly harm American investments in Mexican energy fields and our shared goal of North American energy security. That is a non-starter for Texas and it must be a non-starter for President Trump.


    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.

  • Craddick: Texas is the National Leader in Energy Production, Transport, and Export

    January 12, 2018

    HOUSTON – Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick today delivered keynote remarks to the Texas Pipeline Association’s (TPA) annual meeting in Houston. TPA is the largest state trade association in the country representing the interests of the intrastate pipeline network in Texas.

    “Texas companies are safely delivering record amounts of energy to market, generating a stronger, more prosperous economy for our state and the country, and that’s thanks in large part to our state’s extensive network of pipelines,” Craddick said.

    “Over the next few years, as new pipelines transporting natural gas into Mexico and carrying oil to Texas’ Gulf Coast ports come online, U.S. energy exports are projected to see enormous growth.”

    Since Congress lifted the nation’s ban on crude oil exports at the end of 2015, U.S. oil exports have risen to almost 2 million barrels per day. Driven by Permian production and pipeline growth, experts expect the U.S. could become a net crude exporter as soon as 2019.

    “The Railroad Commission’s pipeline safety program is proud to provide strong regulatory oversight of almost 400,000 pipeline miles and this important industry,” Craddick said.


    Christi Craddick was elected statewide by the people of Texas in November 2012 to serve a six-year term as Texas Railroad Commissioner. A native of Midland, Christi is an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy.





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