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News

Wayne Christian's Press Room

News Items - 2021

  • Christian: Railroad Commission Reports Record Low Flaring Rate

    December 02, 2021

    AUSTIN – The statewide flaring rate fell to a record low level in September, according to the Railroad Commission’s latest production data. The percentage of natural gas flared in Texas dropped from a previous record low of 0.61% in July 2021 to a new record low of 0.21% in September.

    Texas has one of the lowest flaring rates of large oil and gas producing states in the country with an average rate of flaring that has remained significantly less than 2% for more than two years.

    “Texas continues to show the rest of the world that it’s possible to produce large quantities of reliable fuel while being environmentally responsible,” Christian said of the data. “Despite mainstream reporting, you don’t have to choose between using cheap, plentiful and reliable fuel and maintaining a healthy environment. They are not mutually exclusive, especially when you factor in human ingenuity and technological advancements.”

    “As the Biden administration seeks to tax and regulate the oil and gas industry to death, reports like this one are critically important to fighting misinformation from environmental extremists,” Christian continued. “As chairman, I’m committed to a consistent and predictable regulatory process based on sound science that allows oil and gas companies to responsibly produce plentiful, affordable and reliable energy for all Texans.”

     

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Texas Establishes First of Its Kind Designation of Natural Gas Facilities for Energy Emergencies

    November 30, 2021

    AUSTIN – Today Railroad Commission of Texas commissioners adopted rules for critical designation of natural gas infrastructure to help protect Texans in energy emergencies.

    The new rules implement provisions in House Bill 3648 and Senate Bill 3 and define natural gas facilities that would be designated as critical gas suppliers and critical customers.

    Critical gas suppliers include, but are not limited to, gas wells, oil leases that produce gas, natural gas pipeline facilities, underground natural gas storage facilities and saltwater disposal facilities.

    Critical customers, which are a subset of critical gas suppliers, are facilities that require electricity to operate. These operators will submit a critical customer information to their electric utilities so that their electric utilities have the correct information for purposes of supplying power to the facilities.

    Senate Bill 3 includes language to allow for certain facilities to apply for an exception to critical designation. However, the newly adopted rules exclude certain types of highly critical facilities from being able to apply for an exception. Examples include any facility that will be on the state’s electricity supply chain map, which is due to be published next year, underground gas storage facilities, pipelines that directly serve a power generation plant or local gas distribution companies, gas wells and oil leases that produce a large amount of gas per day, and gas processing plants. Applications for exception require objective evidence proving reasonable cause and justification, which will be reviewed, and RRC staff can deny an application.

    "It has been wrongly reported that for $150 any company can be exempted from preparing for winter," said RRC Chairman Wayne Christian. "The $150 is a fee set in statute two decades ago for all applications for exceptions. It is just an application fee, not a get-out-of-jail free card. No company will automatically receive an exemption and applications can and will be denied."

    “The Commission adopted a ‘critical designation’ rule to ensure our natural gas supply is prepared for future energy emergencies,” continued Christian. “With the passage of this rule, critical facilities including more than 19,000 of the state’s natural gas production facilities will be required to weatherize and be prepared to operate in future winter weather events. Despite what you may read in the news, no one is getting a bailout, and no one is getting a loophole.”

    “Meaningful and responsible implementation of Winter Storm Uri legislation has been a top priority for myself and the Railroad Commission of Texas since February,” said RRC Commissioner Christi Craddick. “I appreciate the efforts of agency staff and stakeholders, whose hard work and diligence will benefit all Texans.”

    “I am proud of the Railroad Commission’s work to incorporate the comments we received from stakeholders and the public,” said RRC Commissioner Jim Wright. “Today’s rule strikes an appropriate balance to ensure those operators that are substantially contributing to the natural gas supply chain are identified and designated as critical while also recognizing the need for electric utilities to have flexibility during load shed events to ensure that electricity is available to the residents and families who need it.”


    See RRC commissioners’ discussion at today’s open meeting

    Critical gas suppliers will file RRC Form CI-D acknowledging their status, and critical customers will also submit critical customer information. To view the final rules, go to https://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/xq4fiqda/adopt-new-3-65-amend-3-107-nov30-21-sig.pdf.

    Rules adopted today address the issue that some critical gas suppliers were not eligible for critical load designation and had their power cut off inadvertently during Winter Storm Uri. Critical gas facilities are now able to, and required to, submit their information to electric utilities. Electric entities will use this information to plan load-shed procedures during an energy emergency.

    There are several more steps that will be implemented to help fortify the state’s energy supply. The RRC and the Public Utility Commission of Texas have been working on mapping the state’s electricity supply chain and natural gas infrastructure along that chain. Since this fall, RRC inspectors have been visiting gas facilities and leases to observe winter preparation measures.  On Oct. 7, the RRC issued a notice that asked natural gas operators to take all necessary measures to prepare for the upcoming winter.

  • Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian Statement on Biden’s Oil Reserve Move

    November 23, 2021

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman Wayne Christian issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s decision to release 50 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

    “Today’s actions demonstrate the Biden Administration is more interested in temporary political gain than addressing systemic policy issues that drive up the cost of energy, destroy high-paying jobs and harm our national security,” said Christian. “Instead of pandering to a vocal minority of climate catastrophists, Biden should unleash domestic energy producers to provide affordable, reliable energy for the American people.”

    “Biden’s polling is at record lows because the American people are increasingly sick of his expensive, dangerous policies,” continued Christian. “From his disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan and his weak stance on China to bending the knee to OPEC+ and now withdrawing from the strategic petroleum reserve, Biden has unnecessarily put the United States at a severe geopolitical disadvantage just for the sake of virtue signaling that he is progressive on climate change.”

     

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Texas Railroad Chairman Wayne Christian Passes Resolution Supporting Reliable Energy

    Defends Oil and Gas Industry Against Biden Administration at IOGCC
    November 09, 2021

    AUSTIN – Today, IOGCC Vice-Chairman Wayne Christian passed a resolution urging President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress not to include anti-oil and -gas policies in the congressional reconciliation bill (Build Back Better Act). The resolution strongly recommends the President of the United States and Congress not to adopt legislation harmful to the oil and gas industry. (View resolution here)

    “The Build Back Better Act is an expensive and unnecessary environmentalist’s wish list of green energy policies,” Christian said. “The ongoing efforts in Washington, D.C. are an attempt to tax and regulate the oil and gas industry out of existence.”

    According to the American Petroleum Institute (API) creating a new natural gas fee could cost the U.S. economy as much as $14 billion and kill 155,000 jobs. America’s natural gas and oil industry contributes about $1.7 trillion dollars annually to the U.S. economy and provides 11.3 million jobs to hard-working Americans. 

    “Texas is the number one oil and gas producer in the nation, and these anti -oil and -gas policies would kill jobs, stifle economic growth, and make America more reliant on foreign nations to provide reliable energy,” Christian continued. “With inflation on the rise, we need more economic certainty not less; we need more oil and gas production, not more clean energy fantasies.” 

    Christian currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) under Chairman Kevin Stitt (Governor, Oklahoma). Christian has held several leadership roles in the organization since he was first appointed to the IOGCC by Governor Greg Abbott in 2017. At this year’s meeting, Christian was the sole author of the resolution that passed.

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Christian: Biden’s Climate Report Card from UN: Would Americans Give Him the Same Passing Grade on Economy?

    November 09, 2021

    By Wayne Christian, Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman

    AUSTIN – The United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference – known as COP26 – began in Scotland on Sunday, Oct. 31. It’s appropriate that the conference commenced meeting on Halloween since there are very few things on Planet Earth scarier than a horde of environmentalists getting together to decide how to run your life.

    COP26 is essentially a “progress report” for the Paris Climate Accords. It will be the first time the UN will “measure” how the agreement is doing, refresh climate mandates, and loudly sound the death knell for the fossil fuel industry. Predictably, President Joe Biden – clueless as ever – is using it as an opportunity to tout “green energy” while ignoring the looming threat of a global energy shortage and pretending bad actors like China and Russia are holding up their end of the bargain.

    In coordination with COP26, President Biden and Washington Democrats are trying to quickly pass their partisan climate agenda in a massively bloated liberal spending bill. As-is, the legislation would almost certainly make the U.S. more like Europe with expensive green energy mandates and reliance on foreign fossil fuels, leaving Americans with more inflation, higher energy prices, and less national security.

    While Biden and the UN presume the science of a climate crisis is settled, let us not forget that climate “chicken-littles” have been saying the sky is falling for 40 years. The UN climate models are constantly being “updated” or modified, and their wildly irresponsible climate predictions (like the starvation of 4 billion people during the 1980s) have not happened. That doesn’t sound like settled science to me.

    Moreover, COP26 continues a celebration of the U.S. abandoning our own interests. The Paris Climate Accords mandate emission reductions that make U.S. energy uncompetitively expensive, while China plans to add 43 new coal-fired power plants and has recently told Chinese coal producers to produce as much as possible, amid growing energy supply concerns. Additionally, the National Economic Research Associates concluded that the accords could be an economic loss of $2 trillion a year, or about $15,000 a household, and would kill 6.5 million American industrial jobs all by 2040.

    America, despite mainstream reporting, leads the world in the production of clean, affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy. In August, the statewide flaring rate in Texas was 0.64 percent, remaining near its lowest rate in years, according to Railroad Commission data. This means 99.36 percent of natural gas produced in Texas is being beneficially used to heat our homes, cook our food, and make everyday products. Nationally, the six major air pollutants monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency have fallen 77 percent since 1970, while our energy consumption grew 48 percent, our population grew 60 percent, and the economy grew 285 percent.

    While President Biden and liberal democrats are busy in Washington, D.C., and Europe adding fuel to the ongoing inflation fire with climate mandates, American taxpayers are seeing seven-year high gas prices, a shortage on Christmas toys, and the costliest Thanksgiving meal ever. Given that oil is used to make more than 6,000 products, it’s not just gas prices that Americans will see rise but everyday items like toothbrushes, iPhones, shoes, medicine, and more. A recent CBS News poll highlighted that 60 percent of Americans view Biden as not focused enough on inflation and 37 percent having a poor outlook on the economy.

    For now, we are lucky that we still live in a country that thrives on the use and production of fossil fuels. Oil, natural gas, and coal have lifted people out of poverty, fed the hungry, warmed the cold, healed the sick, and created a more stable world. In fact, mankind is more prepared and safer from climate change than ever before thanks to fossil fuels.

    Environmentalists would have you choose a world between reliable energy and environmental progress—but that is a false choice. Like everything else in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to using fossil fuels. I argue that the advantages of having cheap, plentiful, and reliable energy vastly outweigh the disadvantages.

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman Wayne Christian Statement on EPA’s Proposed Methane Rule

    November 03, 2021

    AUSTIN – Railroad Commission of Texas Chairman Wayne Christian issued the following statement regarding new methane standards proposed by the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    “While Americans are paying $144 million more for gas per day than in the past, the Biden administration continues their efforts to tax and regulate the oil and gas industry out of existence,” said Christian. “Texas is the number one oil and gas producer in the nation, and these continued anti -oil and -gas policies will kill jobs, stifle economic growth, and make America more reliant of foreign nations to provide reliable energy.”

    “It’s hypocritical to kill clean fossil fuel jobs here in America claiming it ensures a clean environment, and then beg our foreign adversaries to produce more using much less environment-friendly methods. The U.S. is a global leader in reducing emissions, not through regulation – but technological innovation. In fact, over the last fifty years, the six major pollutants regulated by the EPA have fallen by 77 percent while the U.S. economy grew 285 percent and its population by 60 percent,” continued Christian.

    “With a looming global energy supply crisis and inflation on the rise, we need more economic certainty not less; we need more oil and gas production, not more clean energy fantasies,” said Christian. “I remain committed to ensuring Texans have access to plentiful, reliable, and affordable energy.”

     

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Christian Elected Chairman of the Railroad Commission for a Second Time

    September 28, 2021

    AUSTIN – At an open meeting of the Railroad Commission of Texas, Commissioner Wayne Christian was unanimously elected Chairman for a second time. Following the vote, Christian released the following statement:

    “It has been an honor of my lifetime to serve on the Railroad Commission during a historic time for our state and nation,” said Christian. “Now, it is my privilege to serve as Chairman at a point when our nation’s energy security is under threat by those in the media, the education system, and most of all, the federal government.”

    “There are some who would have you believe that you must choose between reliable energy and environmental progress — but that is a false choice,” continued Christian. “From 1970 to 2017, the six major pollutants monitored by the EPA plunged by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew 262 percent and its population by 60 percent. Texas – not Washington, the private sector – not government, know best how to meet our energy needs. And that’s a fight that I will never quit.”

    “I want thank Commissioners Craddick and Wright for their hard work and trust in me to lead our great agency,” Christian continued. “As Chairman, I will work tirelessly to ensure the Commission continues its long history of responsible energy production that creates good-paying jobs and provides a consistent and predictable regulatory environment that allows businesses to succeed while preserving public safety and protecting the environment.”

    After the open meeting, Former Chair Craddick made the following statement: “Chairman Christian has proved himself to be a steadfast leader at the Railroad Commission of Texas. I am honored to pass the Chairmanship along to him and am confident that his expertise and work ethic will successfully guide this agency through the important issues that lie ahead.”

    Commissioner Wright also had this to say, “I have had the good fortune to serve alongside two outstanding colleagues since my arrival at the Railroad Commission in January and want to thank Commissioner Craddick for her leadership and congratulate my friend, Wayne Christian, on his election to Chairman. I know Chairman Christian will be a forceful advocate on behalf of our agency and domestic energy production here in Texas, and I look forward to working with him to advance our shared goals.”


    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Commissioner Christian here:
    https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Christian: Statewide Gas Flaring Falls to Lowest Rate in Years

    September 24, 2021

    AUSTIN – In July, the statewide flaring rate in Texas fell to its lowest rate in years according to Railroad Commission data, falling by more than 75 percent since August 2019.

    The Commission’s recent production data report shows that the percentage of natural gas flared fell from a high of 2.33 percent in August 2019 to 0.57 percent in July 2021 (see below). Overall, the average percentage of natural gas flared has remained under 2 percent for nearly two years, giving Texas one of the lowest in flaring rates among large oil and gas producing states in the country.

    “This is great news for Texas, but it’s not surprising,” said Commissioner Christian after reviewing the report. “The drop in the flaring rate here in Texas follows a cooperative effort between the Railroad Commission and oil and gas companies to find innovative technological solutions that would result in less gas being flared and more gas being beneficially used to heat our homes, cook our food, and make products we use every day. Unsurprisingly that process has worked because whenever government works with private business, instead of against it, we can solve problems.”

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Commissioner Christian here .

  • Commissioner Wayne Christian Pens Letter to the President on OPEC+ Discussions

    August 11, 2021

    AUSTIN – Today, Commissioner Wayne Christian wrote a letter to President Joe Biden encouraging him to reconsider discussions with OPEC+ and instead unleash the private sector to produce oil domestically in America. You can view the formatted letter here or below:

    Dear Mr. President,

    I write to you concerning the Biden Administration’s recent discussions with OPEC+ to increase the supply of oil by expanding production of foreign oil to lower gasoline prices in America.

    These discussions tacitly acknowledge the important role of fossil fuels for American families to have access to cheap, plentiful, and reliable energy. While I appreciate your support for increasing the production of oil, quite frankly, we do not need to rely on other countries for natural resources we can produce right here at home.

    In recent years, the United States surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the top producer of oil and natural gas in the world — producing a record 12.4 million barrels of oil in August 2019. Unfortunately, over the last two years, COVID-19, ESG investing, and regulatory uncertainty from the federal government have stripped us of our hard-fought energy independence.

    By frequently attempting to weaken the American oil and gas industry you are not reducing emissions, you are merely shipping them overseas while killing American jobs, increasing costs to American consumers, and harming our country’s national security. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy summed it up well when he recently stated that “cutting production in the U.S. only to see that demand met by dirtier producers elsewhere in the world results in more pollution and more environmental damage. Instead, we should be promoting cleaner production here at home.” It is confusing to me why an American president would be so hostile to American industry, jobs, consumers and national security. 

    Here’s the truth. The environment in the United States is getting cleaner, not dirtier. Over the last fifty years, the six major pollutants regulated by the EPA have fallen by 77 percent while the U.S. economy grew 285 percent and its population by 60 percent1. While natural gas production increased more than 50 percent between 1990 and 2017, methane emissions from natural gas decreased by more than 14 percent2. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, between 2005 and 2019, total U.S. electricity generation increased by almost 2 percent while related CO2 emissions fell by 33 percent3.

    Meanwhile, China — already the largest carbon emitter on Earth4 — commissioned more coal-fired electric generation capacity last year than the rest of the world retired5. More than 50 percent of the raw materials required to make solar panels and wind turbines are now mined in China by power generated from fossil fuels6. This means wind and solar generated electricity in the United States isn’t reducing global carbon emissions, it is just outsourcing them to China.

    Mr. President, I implore you to reverse course on your policy decisions and rhetoric regarding American oil and natural gas. “Freezing” new oil and gas exploration on federal lands and revoking the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline provide negligible environmental benefits compared to its cost. Climate change is not the same thing as a climate crisis, and these public policy decisions are harming real Americans living paycheck to paycheck.

    America has proven we do not need to rely on OPEC+ or any other nation for our energy needs. We can produce the natural resources we need right here at home. History has shown us time and time again that oil and natural gas production and a clean environment are not mutually exclusive. America has proven that through technological innovation we can maintain a clean environment AND achieve energy independence.

    Thank you,

    Wayne Christian
    Railroad Commissioner
    State of Texas

    Citations:
    1. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/2019_baby_graphic_1970.png
    2. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-02/documents/us-ghg-inventory-2019-chapter-3-energy.pdf
    3. https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/pdf/2019_co2analysis.pdf
    4. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/chinas-greenhouse-gas-emissions-exceed-those-of-all-other-developed-countries-combined/ 
    5. https://globalenergymonitor.org/press-release/new-report-record-coal-plant-retirements-in-u-s-and-eu-offset-by-china-coal-plant-boom-in-2020/
    6. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Energy-security-fears-rise-anew-in-shift-to-clean-16039857.php

     

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Commissioner Christian here: https://www.rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Christian: A Storm of Hypocrisy

    July 29, 2021

    By Wayne Christian

    While no form of energy performed perfectly during Winter Storm Uri, the insistence that natural gas producers are the primary culprit for the February blackouts is pure hyperbole. 

    But more than just hyperbolic, it is hypocritical to blame a lack of natural gas for an electricity shortage during a weather emergency and then gleefully support Democrats who are trying to get rid of natural gas. You can’t do your best to stop the development of natural gas infrastructure and then be upset when there isn’t enough natural gas to power our society.

    Take for example the coverage of the Houston Chronicle’s business columnist, Chris Tomlinson. Tomlinson has frequently written missives about the viability of wind and solar leading to a carbon neutral power grid by 2035.

    And yet, since the winter storm, Tomlinson has been on a rampage blaming the unreliability of our grid on a lack of natural gas. In his latest piece, Tomlinson even went as far to admit: “Wind and solar are essential sources of power, but they are not what ERCOT depends on in an emergency.”

    It is inconsistent to assert we no longer need fossil fuels to power our society out of one side of his mouth and then out of the other blame a lack of fossil fuels for our shortage of energy. Here are the facts:

    During Winter Storm Uri, natural gas outperformed other sources of energy. On average, natural gas represented 46 percent of the electricity on the ERCOT-managed electric grid in 2020 while wind represented 23 percent. During Winter Storm Uri, natural gas generated 67 percent, while wind generated less than 6 percent.

    Wind and solar are not as clean as people think. More than 50 percent of the raw materials required to make solar panels and wind turbines are now mined in China by power generated by fossil fuels. China is the largest carbon emitter on Earth and commissioned more coal-fired electric generation capacity last year than the rest of the world retired. We are not reducing our emissions, we are just shipping them overseas.

    The issue isn’t the existence of wind and solar energy. It’s that they are inherently unreliable and have displaced reliable generation, like natural gas. Democrats and the green energy lobby in Austin have secured massive subsidies for wind and solar, while imposing punitive regulations on reliable sources of energy.

    For example, natural gas is required to replace any power it cannot generate on the spot market. Wind and solar, however, are not. This gives wind and solar energy producers a massive economic advantage. Because of this, wind and solar are always able to make money, whether they are successful or not. 

    Because of these incredibly unfair market conditions, future planned generation heavily favors unreliable forms of energy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas plans to build power plants that will generate 11.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar electricity, 8.4 GW of wind electricity, and only 5 GW of natural gas electricity. Why build natural gas power plants when politicians in Austin guarantee your wind farm will be profitable no matter what?

    Texas is growing by hundreds of thousands of residents each year. If our energy mix is not corrected soon, we will face blackouts as often as they do in California. Don’t believe me? ERCOT issued an alert urging energy conservation on a mild spring day in April earlier this year. That is not a good sign of things to come, and frankly, we will never fix the issue if we keep misdiagnosing the cause in the spirit of political correctness. 

  • Christian Passes Key Resolutions At IOGCC

    Texas Defends States Rights at Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
    May 18, 2021

    AUSTIN – Today, Commissioner Wayne Christian authored and passed three resolutions to protect states’ rights, protect consumers, and encourage technological innovation in the oil and gas industry.

    Resolution 21.052 - Opposition to the CLEAN Future Act : This resolution co-sponsored by Texas and North Dakota asks the Biden Administration and Congress to oppose the CLEAN Future Act and other similar pieces of legislation on behalf of oil and gas producing states.

    “The so-called CLEAN Future Act is nothing more than the Green New Deal in lipstick,” said Christian. “This legislation would effectively federalize regulation of oil and gas, increasing costs to consumers and our national debt, while harming our energy independence and national security.” 

    Resolution 21.054 - Reigning in ESG-style Investing : This resolution asks the federal government to formulate and enforce regulations relating to Environmental, Social, and Governance Funds (ESG). This style of investing has been utilized by activists to force divestment in oil and gas without regard to the rate of return for beneficiaries.

    “We cannot allow activist investors to harm the investment and retirement portfolios of our constituents as collateral damage in their war against fossil fuels,” said Christian. “If ESG is not put in check, not only will future retirees face challenges in the years ahead, but we could see record bankruptcies and layoffs in the energy sector.” 

    Resolution 21.055 - Encouraging Carbon Capture and Technological Innovation : This resolution acknowledges the key role technological innovation, including carbon capture, has played in our nation’s environmental progress and encourages the federal government to act in a bipartisan manner to continue encouraging this progress.

    “A clean environment and oil and gas production are not mutually exclusive,” said Christian. “Because of technological innovation, over the last fifty years, our nation has decreased the six major pollutants by 77% while our energy consumption grew 48%, population grew 60%, and economy grew 285%. The key to environmental progress is innovation, not punitive regulations.”

    Christian currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) under Chairman Kevin Stitt (Governor, Oklahoma). Christian has held a number of leadership roles in the organization since he was first appointed to the IOGCC by Governor Greg Abbott in 2017. At this year’s meeting, Christian was the author of three out of the four resolutions that passed. 

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Commissioner Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Texas Fights Back Against Woke Environmental Movement

    May 05, 2021

    AUSTIN – Yesterday, the Texas Legislature passed two critically important bills that allow Texas to fight national efforts to eliminate fossil fuels.

    House Bill 17 protects consumers by prohibiting political subdivisions from discriminating against specific fuel sources like natural gas and coal; this will ensure cities and counties cannot pass California-style ordinances that ban gas hook-ups in new buildings or homes.

    “Winter Storm Uri exposed the importance of allowing individuals to have access to natural gas in their homes,” said RRC Commission Wayne Christian. “99.5 percent of customers connected to natural gas maintained service for the duration of Winter Storm Uri, ensuring they had fuel to cook food and heat their homes.”

    Senate Bill 13 prevents our state from investing in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) financial products that boycott Texas energy companies.

    “Extremists are coming after your retirement account vis-à-vis ESG investing,” said Christian. “Studies clearly show this investment strategy leads to poorer outcomes for investors, and for the State of Texas, divesting from fossil fuels would have a dramatic impact on our state’s economy and budget. As proponents of SB 13 have said, this sends a strong message to big business, that if you boycott Texas energy, Texas will boycott you.” 

    “I would like to thank bill authors Senator Brian Birdwell (HB 17/SB 13), Representative Joe Deshotel (HB 17), and Representative Phil King (SB 13) for their leadership on these issues,” continued Christian. “While the federal government picks winners and losers by propping up unreliable forms of energy with massive subsidies, Texas has demonstrated it prioritizes consumer choice and reliability more than virtue signaling to a small and loud group of woke political activists.”

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren. You can learn more about Commissioner Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.

  • Spending Should Have Prioritized Reliability

    By Wayne Christian
    February 19, 2021

    Everything is so politicized these days that it is tough to decipher facts from opinions about what happened this week with the winter storm. 

    It’s easy to blame ERCOT — and yes, their actions led to the blackouts in part — but the full story is much more complex. One night of bad decisions would not have had such devastating consequences had it not been for decades of poor policy decisions prioritizing unreliable renewable energy sources at the expense of reliable electricity — something Texans now know is essential to our everyday lives.

    I have seen a lot of media reports claiming the issue was a decrease in power generated from natural gas, but when you look at the numbers that is just not true.  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the hourly average of net power generation from gas went from 17,602 mw before the storm (2/1-2/12) to 33,310 during the storm (2/12-2/17), meaning generation from natural gas basically doubled as demand increased. (1)

    Many are blaming fossil fuels because "wind power was expected to make up only a fraction of what the state had planned for during the winter."(2) This is the problem. Investments in infrastructure are paid for by electricity customers and taxpayers, and our state spent more than $7 billion to build out the CREZ Transmission Lines for wind and solar generation.

    This means resources that could have otherwise been spent making our grid more resilient to weather — or adding reliable generation from natural gas, nuclear, or clean coal to keep up with increasing demand for electricity — were instead spent on building out transmission lines for intermittent forms of energy that were "never expected" to perform during times like these. 

    The issue isn't the existence of renewable energy, but that it has displaced reliable generation that makes up our "base load," not through natural market forces but through massive subsidies and punitive regulatory policies from progressives in Washington, D.C. In 2009, “coal-fired plants generated nearly 37 percent of the state’s electricity while wind provided about 6 percent. Since then, three Texas coal-fired plants have closed… In the same period, our energy consumption rose by 20 percent.”(3)

    Everyone loves to tout the phrase “all the above” — until it includes energy sources perceived as “dirty,” like coal, or "scary," like nuclear. However, these energy sources are both extraordinarily safe and dependable in adverse weather conditions like Texas is facing now because one of their key features is on-site storage. If the "all the above" wind and solar advocates are serious about anything more than receiving subsidies, why are they opposed to nuclear, which can produce massive amounts of energy with a ZERO carbon footprint?

    There is no single reason we are in the mess we are in now; it is a multifaceted perfect storm. However, every time the government picks winners and losers in business and innovation, it is the average citizens that lose. This week was a wakeup call that there is more to energy policy than the politics of climate change. 

    1) https://mcusercontent.com/ec5dd75d998816c4f8464c9a5/files/8f37e5af-7b57-45ad-9dbb-4c7f7d0eb850/EIA_Data.xlsx
    2) https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/16/texas-wind-turbines-frozen/
    3) https://comptroller.texas.gov/economy/fiscal-notes/2020/august/ercot.php

  • Federal Change Will Allow Texas to Lead on Water

    By Commissioner Wayne Christian
    January 21, 2021

    As Texas’ official representative to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), I passed a resolution in May 2018 asking the federal government to identify regulations that should be delegated to the states. In response, I received the suggestion that Texas should request delegation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program for oil and gas wastewater from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It quickly became apparent that the best way to obtain this delegation would be to pursue it through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), rather than through my agency, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC).

    Instead of playing protectionism over the duties delegated to our agency, my fellow commissioners and I put Texas first and supported legislation at the Legislature that would enable TCEQ to request this authority after our agencies finalized a MOU. 

    There are many political issues facing the oil and gas industry, but perhaps the most significant technical issue is the dilemma on what to do with oil and gas wastewater. Although the Texas oil and gas industry does not use high volumes of water as compared to other key industries on a statewide basis, it is important to further increase our efforts to use water in a sustainable manner.

    With the upcoming change in the White House, many had lost faith that Texas would be able to obtain the NPDES delegation before inauguration. Fortunately, last Friday, the EPA approved Texas’ request to administer this critical program. 

    Although the EPA doesn’t currently allow the discharge of treated produced water into the Waters of the United States, such as rivers and lakes, it is my hope that this change is a big first step towards a future where our state has the legal authority to permit alternatives to the underground injection of wastewater. Creating a regulatory framework that incentivizes the reuse and reintroduction of produced water cleaned to the health and safety standards of the Clean Water Act should be prioritized. 

    It is important for the public to know that just because Texas has this authority doesn’t mean energy producers will be able to just discharge produced water however they see fit. Permittees will have to apply for a permit with the TCEQ and will be subject to very specific requirements and monitoring, using the same standards that EPA uses today.  

    Texas has a great track record with protecting the drinking water Texans rely on. Shortly after I joined the agency, the Railroad Commission conducted an exhaustive review of nearly 63,000 injection-well applications since 1982. The findings of the review confirmed permitted injection wells are not polluting sources of underground drinking water or potential sources of underground drinking water. The study was commended by the EPA.

    This latest delegation from the federal government allows state regulators to do what they do best, continue to protect their constituents while ensuring innovation is not stifled by unnecessary bureaucratic red tape. 

    If we allow municipalities to clean and reuse sewage water, it only makes sense to explore using properly treated water from the oil patch to water cotton in West Texas and potentially even broader uses down the road. As treatment costs decrease and freshwater prices continue to increase, Texas will be thankful it has the flexibility afforded to it by this delegation of authority from the federal government. 


    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June 2019, Christian was elected by his fellow commissioners to lead the agency as Chairman, a position he held until September 2020. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren

  • An Assault from All Fronts on Energy Independence

    Opinion - By Commissioner Wayne Christian
    January 05, 2021

    AUSTIN – Last month, the French government pressured Engie – a company that delivers natural gas to homes and businesses all over France – to call off or delay a 20-year, $7 billion contact with a Houston-based company called NextDecade to export Texas natural gas (1). Apparently, the French are concerned Texas gas is too dirty.

    This misplaced concern about emissions will do more harm than good. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy summed it up well when he recently stated that “cutting production in the U.S. only to see that demand met by dirtier producers elsewhere in the world results in more pollution and more environmental damage. Instead, we should be promoting cleaner production here at home.” (2)

    I couldn’t agree more. France is going to have to get their natural gas from somewhere, and wherever it is it’s going to cause more harm to the environment and geopolitics. France may get its natural gas from Iran, which has dangerous nuclear ambitions and has threatened to blow up Israel several times. Or they could turn to Russia who has dangerous ambitions and invaded Crimea just a couple years ago. Or they could look to the Middle East, a region not exactly well known for its respect of Western legal traditions.

    America, on the other hand, leads the world in the production of clean, affordable energy. In August, my agency, the Railroad Commission of Texas, announced that less than a half percent of the gas produced in Texas was flared or vented, meaning 99.5% went to beneficial use.  Nationally, the six major air pollutants monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have fallen 73 percent since 1970, while our economy grew 262 percent and our population by 60 percent. (3)

    As you can see, despite the claims of the sensationalist, fake-news media, the environment in America is getting better, not worse. At the same time, prior to the pandemic, we were producing more oil and natural gas domestically than any time in history, creating jobs, helping our economy, and bringing us national security in the form of energy independence.

    Unfortunately, environmental extremists are seeking to undo these tremendous gains on every front. We all know about their efforts politically on the national level with proposals like the Green New Deal, fracking bans, carbon taxes, and the Paris Climate Accord, which President-Elect Joe Biden plans to rejoin. This would be a tremendous mistake. The accord carries sky-high costs with very low benefits and unfairly imposes a double standard based on unproven assumptions and climate models that are wrong nearly all the time.

    According to a report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the cost of the Paris Climate Accord to the American economy is steep. The agreement will cost American workers 6.5 million jobs and $3 trillion in economic growth by 2040 (4). The justification for killing millions of American jobs and causing trillions of dollars of damage to our economy is the potential decrease of global temperatures by 0.17 degrees Celsius by 2100 – and that is only if the Paris Accord is implemented perfectly. The Paris Climate Accord is a classic example of what happens when policy is based on politics disguised as science. At the same time the economic devastation of these policies threatens our ability to safeguard against our naturally dangerous climate and other threats our modern machine-based civilization protects us against – provided we can fuel it with affordable energy.

    Radically environmentalists aren’t stopping at fighting for increased regulation and unfair treaties. They are coming for your retirement account as well vis-à-vis Environmental, Social, and Governance investing, the new “woke” way to save money. It is an investment strategy whereby an individual investor or financial products, such as mutual funds, invest assets in equity of a company or financial products that are subjectively considered environmentally and socially conscious.

    In practice, this strategy has caused the divestiture of assets from oil and gas production companies. The goal of ESG investing is to deprive legitimate companies with widely used products and services from necessary capital investment because they, in the opinion of some, cause some indirect or amorphous social harm. ESG investing could cause record bankruptcies in the U.S. energy sector, destroying millions of high-paying jobs and American energy independence. All without removing any of the environmentally harmful energy produced by state-owned companies directed by tyrannical governments.

    ESG investing is growing quickly. From 2016 to 2018, ESG funds in the U.S. increased 44 percent from $8.1 trillion to $11.6 trillion (5), which represents one in four U.S. dollars under professional management. This is despite a Pacific Research Institute study last year that found the S&P 500 outperformed a broad basket of ESG funds over a decade by nearly 44% (6).

    Terrible climate accords, bad investment decisions, and contract cancellations – this is what radical environmentalism gets us. It may have been just one contract of one company in France. But what is happening with Engie – and the thought process underlying it – is emblematic of what is happening everywhere. Natural gas is clean, reliable, and affordable – why is that no longer good enough?

    1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609
    2. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2020/10/30/why_oil_must_remain_part_of_our_future_144558.html?fbclid=IwAR0gBjwaHXSMjKj6UGGn84E8_sZDj1cDBT7eoh44OW6RVpiHGlblXP3U6MA
    3. https://cleanairact.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019-StATS-Report-April-2019.pdf
    4. https://www.uschamber.com/press-release/new-report-examines-costs-us-industrial-sector-obama-s-paris-pledge
    5. https://www.ussif.org/files/US%20SIF%20Trends%20Report%202018%20Release.pdf
    6. https://ipfiusa.org/2020/11/17/in-case-you-missed-it-the-department-of-labor-has-issued-a-finalized-rule-on-esg-investing-in-erisa-pension-plans/

     

    A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as our 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. In June 2019, Christian was elected by his fellow commissioners to lead the agency as Chairman, a position he held until September 2020. Prior to his time at the Commission, Christian served seven Sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. In addition to his duties as Commissioner, Christian was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as the Official Representative of Texas on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Christian is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters, Liza, Lindsey and Lauren.





Commissioners