Railroad Commission Chairman Smitherman’s Statement on Hydraulic Fracturing Pioneer George Mitchell’s Passing Today


AUSTIN-Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman today issued the following statement on today’s passing of George Mitchell, the energy pioneer who developed the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling process in wide use today throughout Texas and the nation.

“Texas has lost a true giant and innovative leader in the oil and gas industry today,” Chairman Smitherman said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Mitchell family in their time of loss. Because of Mitchell’s persistence in pursuing for years the development of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in North Texas’ Barnett Shale, we are today witnessing an unprecedented boom in domestic energy production and the associated economic benefits in Texas and nationwide.”


Chairman Barry Smitherman was appointed to the Railroad Commission of Texas in July 2011, and was elected Chairman in February 2012. In November 2012, Chairman Smitherman won a statewide election to the Commission with 74 percent of the vote, receiving more than 4.5 million votes. Chairman Smitherman currently serves as Texas’ representative on both the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Southern States Energy Board, and as Chair of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Gas Committee. He is on the Visiting Committee of the Bureau of Economic Geology with the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas School of Law Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law, and the Eanes Education Foundation Advisory Board.