AUSTIN – Railroad Commissioner David Porter today renewed his call for a stronger commitment from the Obama Administration and Department of Homeland Security to protect Texas’ critical infrastructure through securing the border. Chairman Porter expressed the urgency of such action in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
“It’s been more than a year since I first asked the Department of Homeland Security to take the threat of a terrorist attack against our critical infrastructure seriously, and we are still in the same position,” said Porter, who is now the Chairman of the state’s chief energy regulator. “In light of the Paris attacks, I am compelled to reiterate concerns I have vocalized about the security of our energy industry, which is the backbone of the Texas economy.”
Chairman Porter first registered his concerns last year to the Homeland Security Agency, Customs and Border Protection, about the failure of the federal government to secure the U.S. border, and how that failure endangers Texas’ critical energy infrastructure. More than 425,000 miles of pipeline are in place to carry our state’s oil and gas to market, and a significant portion of this infrastructure is in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, which remains vulnerable due to its proximity to the unsecured border.
Chairman Porter cited recent attacks by ISIS against oil and gas pipelines and facilities as a modus operandi that they may use against one of Texas’ most abundant and valuable economic resources. In his letter, Chairman Porter pointed to one ISIS coordinated attack on three continents, which included a natural gas plant in France that left one employee decapitated. Other accounts include reports from Egypt where radicals attacked their own country’s energy infrastructure to destabilize the government. Another included Yemeni terrorists attacking major oil pipelines as a tactic in their war against the West. The Yemeni oil minister said that these attacks cost their country nearly $1 billion in lost revenue in 2012.
“In light of these facts, I would encourage you to pressure the White House and instruct Customs and Border Protection to take these concerns seriously, instead of waiting until it is too late. My office is at your disposal to provide advice and counsel, so we can take this issue head on, and ensure that our people and infrastructure are protected from any and all nefarious groups,” said Chairman Porter.
Letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
The RRC is the chief energy regulator for the state of Texas, having primary regulatory jurisdiction over the oil and natural gas industry, as well as pipelines, natural gas utilities, the propane industry, and coal and uranium surface mining operations. The agency works to ensure fair and consistent energy regulation in Texas so businesses can safely, efficiently, and economically produce the energy that is needed to power Texans and the Texas economy.