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The RRC Houston District Office is closed due to a power outage from last week’s storm damage in the city. If you need assistance, you can contact the office by calling 713-869-5001 or by emailing Houston@rrc.texas.gov.

Texas Files Comments on Federal Rules That Could Stifle State’s Vital Oil and Gas Industry

February 14, 2023

AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas joined the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in filing comments this week on the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed supplemental rule to regulate methane and greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry.

In the comments, the state expresses concerns that the proposed rule exceeds EPA’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act and will significantly limit domestic energy supply. At a time of energy fluctuations due to international conflict, the United States cannot afford to clamp down on its most important oil and gas producing state. 

Texas also commented that the proposal also lays out unrealistic assumptions and artificially high metrics to estimate the climate benefits of the rule, whereas in practice, the rule would place an unjustifiable burden on states and the energy industry for little real benefit to the global climate.

In addition, the RRC is concerned that EPA did not provide sufficient time for affected stakeholders to review and comment on the extreme breadth of its proposal. The proposed rule was published immediately before the holiday season, on December 6, 2022, amidst several other significant regulatory proposals. Despite receiving numerous requests to extend the comment period, EPA declined to provide additional time. 

“The EPA’s overreaching methane rules and unrealistic timeline are yet another example of the Biden administration’s attempt to shut down the oil and gas industry in Texas,” said RRC Chairman Christi Craddick. “I stand with my fellow Railroad Commissioners and partners at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in opposition to this attack on the industry that provides so much to our state.”

“President Biden's EPA continues its relentless fight to shut down oil and gas. The EPA’s proposed rule on methane will make reliable energy scarcer and more expensive at a time when we desperately need more of it," said RRC Commissioner Wayne Christian. "From killing the Keystone XL pipeline project, to freezing federal leasing, to supporting ESG, to implementing onerous regulations, Biden is why energy is so expensive. An unburdened and unleashed Texas oil and gas industry is the path to energy security. We only need the administration to get out of the way! If the EPA moves forward, it's imperative that Texas and other states challenge them in the court and those rules get thrown out." 

“The EPA methane rule is yet another example of the Biden Administration saying one thing and doing another,” said RRC Commissioner Jim Wright.  “In his State of the Union remarks, President Biden placed special emphasis on the need to increase domestic manufacturing, lower utility bills, and create American jobs.  Unfortunately, the EPA’s methane rule will have the opposite effect. Not only does this rule threaten Texas energy production, it does so by disproportionately impacting small and medium producers who live and work in their community, buy supplies, hire locally, and are important contributors to their local economies.”

The joint comments submitted by the RRC and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality can be found at https://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/hhvontzl/epa-comments_021323.pdf.

About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit https://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.