EDF Calls for New Safety Measures to Prevent Oil and Gas Explosions in Texas’ Coastal Areas

Petition Filed with Railroad Commission Would Require Select Operators to Install Emergency Equipment

June 18, 2015
Kelsey Robinson, (512) 691-3404, krobinson@edf.org

(AUSTIN – June 18, 2015)  The Environmental Defense Fund yesterday reissued a petition for new rulemaking with the Texas Railroad Commission. The petition asks the Commission to require the installation of sub-surface emergency shut off valves at oil and gas facilities in coastal areas.

“This equipment can prevent oil and gas explosions in the event of a catastrophic event, like a hurricane,” said Scott Anderson, Senior Policy Director at Environmental Defense Fund. “Without this critical piece of equipment, which can stop the flow of oil or gas before it reaches the surface, the safety of anyone in the vicinity of an oil or gas well is at risk during these vulnerable periods.”

Many coastal cities previously required operators to install this preventative equipment, but the passage of HB 40 earlier this year pre-empted those local sub-surface ordinances.

“We must ensure that the state actually will step up and take responsibility for protecting the health and safety of millions of Texans living near oil and gas operations,” Anderson said. “Our goal with this petition is to help ensure that the state’s Railroad Commission is indeed ready to take on this responsibility.”

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