Railroad Commissioner Smitherman Testifies Before Congress on EPA’s Job-Destroying Regulations


WASHINGTON, D.C.- Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman testified today before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology about the lack of science behind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).  Commissioner Smitherman highlighted the fact that the new arbitrary EPA regulation has destroyed 500 jobs already and is poised to threaten the reliability of our electrical grid.

“The EPA passed this unrealistic and unnecessary regulatory scheme that could cost Texas electric consumers, will jeopardize the reliability of our electrical system, and has already killed 500 valuable jobs,” Smitherman said.  “I thank Chairman (Ralph) Hall for calling this hearing and inviting me to shine a spotlight on the EPA’s irresponsible and possibly illegal actions.

“The EPA published a draft of the rule for comments by affected states, and they purposely left Texas out of regulation on sulfur oxides in that draft.  The EPA, in a last minute change, decided to include Texas in the final rule without notice or opportunity for Texas to comment.  To add insult to injury, the rule requires Texas to make a 47 percent reduction in sulfur oxide emissions in less than 6 months.  As a point of reference, Texas has been praised for having a reduction of 33 percent in sulfur oxide emissions in 10 years.

“It is clear that the Obama political appointees in charge of the EPA are pursuing a politically-motivated agenda to try to choke off the Texas economic engine.  My message to Congress was clear: if you let the EPA destroy jobs in Texas today through punitive regulations that were hastily-written using flawed modeling, there is nothing to stop this runaway agency from passing additional job-destroying regulations in the future,” Smitherman concluded.


Barry Smitherman is a fourth generation Texan appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Railroad Commission of Texas on July 8, 2011. Before serving at the Railroad Commission, Smitherman served on the Public Utility Commission for seven years, four of those as Chairman. In addition, he is a past ex-officio board member of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). He currently serves on the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC) and is a member of the State Bar of Texas. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Advisory panel on Federal Environmental Regulation and is a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC) Board of Directors, and the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment (ERE).