Chairman Barry Smitherman Testifies on Problematic EPA Overreach into Texas


WASHINGTON D.C.  –– Chairman Barry Smitherman, of the Texas Railroad Commission, testified today before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee on how blanket federal policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are misguided and detrimental to energy production in Texas. 

“Mr. Armendariz’ agenda was seemingly politically driven and not based in sound science,” said Smitherman.  “The scare tactics that he employed against the operators and residents of Texas were factually and scientifically baseless and appeared to merely be an attempt to shut down oil and gas drilling in our state.”

With less than 24 hours before the hearing, Mr. Armendariz cancelled his appearance in front of the Committee through a statement from his legal counsel.

“The fact that Al Armendariz chose to shield himself behind his lawyers rather than answer simple questions about his time at the EPA demonstrates he has something to hide and is fearful of the consequences that may result from his time as EPA Region 6 Administrator,” Smitherman said.

Smitherman reaffirmed his commitment to a full investigation of Region 6’s actions during Mr. Armendariz’ tenure as Administrator to determine to what extent that office inappropriately crossed the line and harmed Texas’ economy and energy future.

Chairman Smitherman concluded his testimony by stating, “I hope that EPA begins to listen to and work with state and local regulators who know best the circumstances, the underground geology, and the facts present in those states.”


Chairman Barry Smitherman was appointed to the Railroad Commission of Texas in July 2011, and was elected Chairman in February 2012.  Chairman Smitherman currently serves as Texas’ representative on both the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Southern States Energy Board, and as Vice 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.