Wayne Christian's Press Room

News Items - 2019

  • Commentary: 230 BILLION Barrels of Oil in West Texas?

    We are no longer reliant on other nations for our energy, giving us a new sense of national security.
    November 26, 2019

    The day after I was elected to the Railroad Commission of Texas, it was announced that the largest find of oil and natural gas in history was assessed in West Texas. In the three years since that announcement, projected totals for this find have continued to grow.

    While I was in Houston last week I heard a new projection showing that “the Permian Basin holds more than 230 billion barrels of oil equivalent and within this estimate exists more than 600 trillion cubic feet of remaining natural gas resource.” To put that in perspective, proven oil reserves in the entire United States just ten years ago were 20.6 billion barrels of oil — less than a tenth of what is now projected in West Texas.

    The United States is now the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world, producing a record 12.4 million barrels in August. Meanwhile, environmentally, the six major pollutants in America monitored by the EPA have plunged by 73 percent since 1970, while the U.S. economy grew 262 percent and its population by 60 percent.(2)

    This is huge news for Texas and America. Because of domestic production, we are no longer reliant on other nations for our energy, giving us a new sense of national security.

    This is not the first time Texas energy has had an impact on global dynamics.

    In World War I, Eastland County, Texas and the “Roaring Ranger” production was essential to the Allied victory. When the armistice was signed in 1918, a member of the British War Cabinet declared, “The Allied cause floated to victory upon a wave of oil.”

    In World War II, seven of the eight billion barrels of oil used to win the war came from the United States. Much of this oil was transported by the Big Inch and Little Inch pipeline from Kilgore, Texas from the largest oil field in history at the time. Winston Churchill at the end of the war said that the war was won on a sea of East Texas oil.

    Today — Texas once again has the opportunity to make the world a safer and more prosperous place because of the natural resources we have been blessed with underground. The only question is, will we stand up to the extremists on the left that want us to abandon this opportunity and keep it in the ground. Keep this in mind as we approach the 2020 elections.

  • Railroad Commission Updates Commission Logo To Reflect Modern Agency

    October 14, 2019

    AUSTIN –The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), today unveiled updates to its logo that preserve the legacy of Texas’ oldest regulatory agency, while better reflecting its modern duties and responsibilities.  

    “The RRC is an historic brand in Texas and we want to preserve that part of our history. It’s also a brand recognized around the world as the global leader in energy regulation,” said Chairman Wayne Christian. “Since the Commission is the lead agency in Texas working to ensure safe, responsible production and transportation of our energy resources, this new logo better communicates to Texans exactly who we are, and what we do to serve them.” 

    The logo is the latest initiative in the RRC’s efforts to increase transparency. Earlier this year, the agency launched the RRC Online Inspection Lookup (RRC OIL) found here.  RRC OIL allows anyone to search online inspection and violation data for oil and gas leases, wells, facilities, and other sites. 

    The RRC will phase in use of the new logo as new materials are purchased. A copy of the new logo is shown below:

    RRC Logo

  • Chairman Christian Passes National Resolution Opposing The Green New Deal

    August 28, 2019

    MEDORA, ND – The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) this week passed Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian’s (R – Texas) resolution urging the federal government to oppose the Green New Deal in the spirit of cooperative federalism. 

    You can read the Chairman’s resolution here.

    “Last week, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled his $16.3 trillion Green New Deal plan which would cripple our state's economy by banning the extraction of fossil fuels,” said Christian.

    “As a statewide elected official charged with overseeing our state's natural resource development, it is my duty to stand up for Texas' Tenth Amendment Rights.” 

    While discussing the resolution, Christian emphasized that the United States has some of the cleanest air in the world. From 1970 - 2017, the six major pollutants monitored by the EPA have plunged by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew by 262 percent and its population by 60 percent. 

    "Over my dead body will I allow out-of-state forces to eliminate jobs, decrease state revenue, and increase the cost of living on the constituents I represent," continued Christian. "I am proud to stand with my fellow regulators from across the nation and strongly urge the federal government to oppose the Green New Deal."

    According to the action plan, IOGCC will send copies of the resolution to the President, Vice President, key administration officials, and Congressional leaders to encourage them to oppose the Green New Deal and any substantially similar legislation. 

    To see and hear Chairman Christian explain the resolution, click here.

    The IOGCC is a multi-state government agency that works to ensure our nation's oil and natural gas resources are conserved and maximized while protecting public health, safety and the environment. IOGCC was created more than 80 years ago when six states joined together to resolve common issues and share best practices for industry regulation, minimizing federal intervention. Christian was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott as Texas’ official representative to IOGCC in April 2017 and currently serves on several committees, including as second vice-chairman of the Steering Committee. 


  • RRC Receives National Energy Education Award For RRC OIL; Online Oil & Gas Inspection Query

    August 26, 2019

    MEDORA, N.D. – The Railroad Commission of Texas is the winner of the 2019 Chairman’s Stewardship Award for Energy Education from the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission. The award is in recognition of the Commission’s RRC Online Inspection Lookup (RRC OIL) tool. For the first time in the Commission’s history anyone, anywhere can look up the inspection and enforcement history of oil and gas wells and operators online. The searchable database provides 24-hour, 7-day a week access to this important information.

    North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum presented the award to RRC’s Executive Director Wei Wang and Clay Woodul, Assistant Director for Oil and Gas Field Operations, today at the IOGCC’s Annual Conference in Medora, N.D.

    “We are proud and honored to receive this prestigious award,” RRC Chairman Wayne Christian said.

    “It is recognition of our continuing efforts to educate the public about how we regulate the state’s oil and gas industry to ensure safe, responsible energy production.

    IOGCC is a national organization comprised of the governors from oil and gas producing states, including Texas, and has international affiliate members from Canada, Egypt and the Republic of Georgia. IOGCC helps member states efficiently maximize oil and natural gas resources through sound regulatory practices while protecting the nation's health, safety and environment.

    “This award represents IOGCC's highest honor for exemplary efforts in environmental stewardship,” said Lori Wrotenbery, IOGCC Executive Director. “The RRC OIL project won the award for giving landowners and others access to real-time information on inspection and enforcement activities at oil and gas well sites.”

    The Commission launched RRC Oil in January 2019. The online tool provides inspection and enforcement information, including notices of violation as well as intensions to sever leases, which effectively prohibit oil or gas from leaving a well site.

    “The Commission conducts more than 130,000 oil and gas inspections annually,” RRC Executive Director Wei Wang said.

    “RRC OIL allows the public and operators to look up the compliance history of wells throughout Texas. This is another significant step forward to increase transparency at the Commission.”

    Users may access RRC OIL 24/7 and can customize inspection and violation searches by a variety of criteria, including; 

    • Operator name;
    • Lease name or number;
    • API number;
    • County;
    • RRC District Oil and Gas District number;
    • Inspection date range, and;
    • Rule.

    RRC OIL accesses inspection and enforcement data entered into the RRC’s Inspection, Compliance, Enforcement Electronic Tracking System, which was implemented in August 2015.

    RRC OIL is available here.

    image of RRC accepting award

    Left to right: Clay Woodul, RRC Oil and Gas Division, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Wei Wang, RRC Executive Director

    image of the award
    Chairman's Stewardship Award 2019


    June 18, 2019

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

    “It has been the honor of my life to serve on the Railroad Commission during this historic period of growth for our state’s oil and gas industry,” said Christian. “Largely because of Texas, America has become the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, giving us not only energy security, but national security as well.” 

    “At the same time we have seen tremendous growth in the industry, we have seen great gains environmentally,” continued Christian. “From 1970 to 2017, the six major pollutants monitored by the EPA plunged by 73%, while the U.S. economy grew 262% and its population by 60%.”

     “As Chairman, I look forward to continuing to ensure our agency provides a consistent, predictable regulatory environment that allows businesses to thrive and protects the public from bad actors,” said Christian. “I would like to thank Commissioners Craddick and Sitton for their service and entrusting me with this honor.” 

    After the open meeting, Former Chairwoman Craddick made the following statement: “I look forward to Chairman Christian’s leadership. His service to Texas and his appreciation of the industry makes him a great leader for this agency.” 

    See the letter Christian sent to staff here.

    Chairman Wayne Christian

  • Railroad Commission of Texas Presents 2019 Reclamation Award

    Sabine Mining Co. Creates Wildlife Habitat from Mined Acreage
    February 26, 2019

    AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioners today awarded the Sabine Mining Co. the Commission’s 2019 Reclamation Award. The operator was recognized for restoring more than 3,400 contiguous acres of Harrison County, mined land into native grass habitat for bobwhite quail, grassland songbirds, Monarch butterflies, pollinating insects and grazing livestock. 

    The restored acreage south of Hallsville is part of the South Hallsville No. 1 Mine, a lignite surface mine which has been in continuous operation since 1984. Since its beginning, reclamation has been ongoing at the RRC-permitted mine that encompasses 44,401 acres. The operator replanted native grasses to provide habitat for a diversity of species, increased wildlife populations and higher nutrition for grazing livestock. 

    “The Sabine Mining Co. believed that reclamation can and should be synonymous with restoration—restoration of habitat, restoration of ecosystems and is doing just that by ‘Going Native’ through the use of native grasses,” the company states in its application for the award. 

    The, RRC’s Surface Mining and Reclamation Division accepts nominees from the Texas coal industry for the Commission’s Reclamation Award Program. The program recognizes outstanding and innovative reclamation achievements at Texas coal mines and complements the Interstate Mining Compact Commission's Annual Reclamation Awards Program. A technical and enforcement team from the SMRD staff then selects a nominee based on IMCC criteria. 

    Along with fish and wildlife habitat, the company’s reclaimed mined acreage provides forestry, pastureland, streams and developed ponds. The mined land is owned by thousands of private landowners who have leased the property for surface mining. The reclaimed acreage also establishes woody corridors to provide wildlife access to water and protective cover. These areas and planted stands of trees, also known as mottes, were developed with guidance from professional biologists and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff. 

    The Sabine Mining Co., whose parent company is North American Coal Corp., operates the South Hallsville No. 1 Mine and the adjacent Rusk Mine. These two mines have 284 full-time employees and more than 40 contractors, who assist with maintenance, reclamation and other projects.The mines produce approximately 4 million tons of lignite annually, which generates electricity in Texas at the H.W. Pirkey Power Plant. This plant is owned and operated by the Southwestern Electric Power Co. – a division of American Electric Power.

    RRC Commissioners with Sabine Mining Co.
    (From L-R) RRC Commissioner Wayne Christian, RRC Chairman Christi Craddick,  Sabine Mining Co. Reps:
    Josh McAfee; Steve Billingslea, Angela Martin, RRC Surface Mining & Reclamation Interim Director Alex Schoch
    & Sabine Mining Co. President Andy Hawbaker, RRC Commissioner Ryan Sitton.

    image of reclaimed mine land

  • RRC Hosts Texas House Energy Resources Committee

    February 25, 2019

    AUSTINMembers of the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Energy Resources, chaired by Rep. Chris Paddie, visited the Railroad Commission’s Austin offices today for an agency tour and briefing on operations. 

    “The RRC is vital to the environmental protection and economic success of Texas, so this was a great opportunity to dig in on the important work of the agency,” said Chairman Paddie. “I’m pleased to see the good progress the agency is making, from increasing transparency by implementing an online search tool for oil and gas inspection and violation data, to adding field staff for inspecting oil and gas wells and pipelines.” 

    During the Committee’s tour, members and legislative staff were given a demonstration of RRC OIL, the agency’s new online search tool for inspection and violation data of oil and gas wells in Texas. They also were updated on the Commission’s progress on state managed well-plugging, as well as oil and gas well inspections. 

    “We’re grateful the members and their staff took time out of their very busy schedules to visit us and see first-hand the hard work and dedication of RRC staff to ensure the safe, responsible production our state’s energy resources,” said RRC Executive Director Wei Wang.

    “We’re extremely proud of the work we do for Texas and stand ready to assist the Committee on important energy-related issues this legislative session.” 

    Committee members were also given a briefing on the RRC’s Groundwater Advisory Unit, which sets drilling requirements for every oil or gas well, to ensure groundwater is protected. Additional briefings covered pipeline safety responsibilities, alternative fuel activities, gas service operations, coal mining regulations and improvements to the agency’s online Geographic Information System Map, which gives the public access to data on every oil and gas well in the state. 

    RRC hosts Tx House Energy Resources Committee
    (From Left to Right) Rep. Ernest Bailes, Rep. Cody Harris, RRC Commissioner
    Wayne Christian & House Energy Resources Committee Chairman Chris Paddie.

  • Railroad Commission Launches Texas’ First Online Searchable Database of Oil & Gas Inspection and Enforcement Data

    RRC Online Inspection Lookup Available 24/7
    January 23, 2019

    AUSTIN – Today, the Railroad Commission of Texas launched its RRC Online Inspection Lookup (OIL) tool for searching statewide oil and gas inspection and enforcement information, including notices of violation and intentions to sever leases. For the first time in RRC history, RRC OIL allows anyone, anywhere at any time to search online records of oil and gas well inspections and violations.

    Chairman Christi Craddick said, ““RRC Online Inspection Lookup continues our efforts to use improved technology to deliver more accessible information to the public and industry on the work of the commission.”

    Commissioner Ryan Sitton said, “Government transparency keeps citizens informed and engaged. The Railroad Commission has made great strides on transparency under our watch, and I am pleased that through initiatives like RRC Oil we continue to lead the way. I will continue to push for even more transparency and accessibility at the RRC.”

    Commissioner Wayne Christian said, “This tool will be helpful to our agency, the industry and most importantly, the general public in ensuring individuals have easy, transparent access to data regarding the regulation of our natural resources. I applaud our hardworking staff and the commitment of funding from the Texas Legislature in making this long-desired tool a reality.”

    Users may access RRC OIL 24/7 and can customize inspection and violation searches by a variety of criteria, including;  

    • Operator name;
    • Lease name or number;
    • API number;
    • County;
    • RRC District Oil and Gas District number;
    • Inspection date range, and;
    • Rule.

    RRC OIL accesses inspection and enforcement data entered into the RRC’s Inspection, Compliance, Enforcement Electronic Tracking System, which was implemented in August 2015. Users may also download data set files either statewide or by RRC district office.

    The RRC OIL tool is part of the agency’s on-going information technology modernization program using technology for greater efficiency in RRC operations and making data collected and maintained by the agency more accessible to the public.

    RRC OIL can be found on our website here


  • Commissioner Christian Rebuts Climate Catastrophists Call for Government Overregulation

    January 10, 2019

    AUSTIN – A coalition of climate catastrophists, led by Environment Texas, sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott demanding immediate action to reduce emissions and combat what they claim is man-made climate change. 

    In response, Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian penned a letter to the Governor applauding him for his work on energy and environmental issues and the key role it has played in ensuring American energy dominance. You can read the letter here.

    “Last year, it was announced that the United States lowered its carbon emissions more than any country in the world for the ninth time in 18 years,” said Commissioner Christian. “These reductions coincide directly with the Texas shale boom and are because of our increased production and use of natural gas – not punitive government policies such as carbon-taxes or emission reduction mandates.” 

    “For the first time in decades, the U.S. has surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the top producer of oil and gas in the world,” continued Christian. “This is no accident. It is the direct result of deliberate policy decisions made by leaders like Governor Greg Abbott and President Donald Trump. Energy security is national security, and our country is safer today because of our consistent, predictable regulatory environment.”