Friday, September 23, 2016

Sign On for Needed Changes in the Texas Railroad Commission

A lot has changed in the last 33 years. Don’t you think it’s time to increase fines on oil and gas companies that break the rules? In 1983, fines were a maximum of $10,000 per day for violations such as operating without a permit or allowing oil to spill into a river. Today, this would be a slap on the wrist to companies that make billions of dollars each year. In fact, $10,000 in 1983 is worth approximately $25,000 today.

The Sunset Commission, which has the ability to reform Texas state agencies, is once again charged with fixing one of Texas’ most out-of-date state agencies - the so-called Railroad Commission. Sunset Commissioners can help pass a bill to improve how the Railroad Commission regulates the oil and gas industry, including getting tough on companies that violate the law.

It's time for a makeover, but it's more than just its name that needs changing. The Railroad Commissioners in charge of regulating the oil and gas industry also get campaign donations from the same oil and gas industry they’re supposed to regulate! That gives a new meaning to dirty money. The Sunset Commission needs to separate some of the decision making authority to other Texas agencies. Doing so would help ensure impartial decisions are made in the best interest of Texas.

But the Sunset Commission won’t get tough on the Railroad Commission if it doesn’t hear from you. Send them a message today to let them know how you feel about the sad state of oil and gas regulation in Texas.


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