RRC Commissioners: “EPA’s Proposed Air Emission Rules Will Harm Texas—the Nation’s Top Energy Producer”


AUSTIN –– Railroad Commissioners this week approved sending a letter and comments on a draft U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule regarding oil and gas air emissions that the Commissioners say could harm energy production in Texas.

“The oil and gas industry in Texas would be significantly impacted by the referenced rules, as proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) in August of 2011. In addition, the proposed rules will result in an expansion of EPA’s authority to regulate and control oil and natural gas activities in Texas and other states,” the Commissioners write in an Oct. 25 letter to Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones said, “Here we go again with EPA trying to stifle one of this nation’s top job creators—the oil and gas industry in Texas, which supports 2 million Texas jobs. The Commission has been effectively regulating our oil and gas producers since 1919, and we do not need EPA hampering our efforts to boost this nation’s domestic energy production.”

Commissioner David Porter said, “The EPA has grossly underestimated the negative impact these rules will have on small operators and independent business, which are the backbone of rural Texas, as it seems they failed to fully consider how their proposed regulations would impact stripper wells. About 80 percent of our wells in Texas are stripper wells, producing less than 10 barrels of oil a day or 60 thousand cubic feet of gas a day. The stripper wells represent about 30 percent of Texas’ production, and these small operators will not be exempt from these rules.”

Commissioner Barry T. Smitherman said, "The EPA admits in their own comments that segments they are considering regulating are currently acceptable. EPA's ill-advised rule making has clearly been conceived to try to punish a bright spot in the American economy: the natural gas industry. EPA's new regulation of what they currently say is acceptable jeopardizes American energy security and jobs, just as their CSAPR rule is jeopardizing our electric grid reliability."

The Commissioners’ letter and RRC’s comments on EPA’s proposed Oil and Natural Gas Sector: To see the "New Source Performance Standards and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollution Reviews,” click here.