Flaring Reemerges as Hot Topic at Texas Railroad Commission Hearing

EDF statement from Colin Leyden, Director, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs

May 5, 2020
Stacy MacDiarmid, (512) 658-2265, smacdiarmid@edf.org

(AUSTIN, TX) In an online hearing today, the Texas Railroad Commission turned its attention to the enormous volume of needless waste and pollution generated by the oil and gas industry’s practice of venting and flaring off millions of tons of methane every year. The renewed focus on flaring came as commissioners ended talk of capping state oil production through a process called proration. 

Chairman Wayne Christian reinforced concerns raised by large and small producers, mineral rights groups, investors, and environmental advocates, noting flaring is “not something that is going to go away when the industry recovers, unless we do something about it now.” Chairman Christian has instructed a panel of industry trade groups to provide recommendations to reduce flaring for the commission’s June 16 hearing.

“Flaring has remained high on the list of industry and stakeholder concerns on both sides of the proration debate. In fact, the calls for action have only become louder. It would be a huge mistake for companies or the commissioners to ignore them. Nor can the commission hand the problem back to industry alone to deal with. The spectrum of voices speaking out on flaring these past few weeks shows the range of stakeholders who need to be at the table.

New data highlights the urgency to reduce what is now both a major source of local and climate pollution. Flaring and methane emissions are two halves of the same problem. Reducing waste and pollution from routine flaring should be part of both short and long-term solutions as operators and the Railroad Commission consider different paths back from the current crisis.”

  • Colin Leyden, Director, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs

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