AUSTIN -- Today, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) approved 16 new exceptions to Statewide Rule 32, permitting 11 well operators to flare natural gas, even as U.S. oil prices fall below zero for the first time in recorded history.
This move follows last week’s calls from industry and environmentalists for improved regulation and oversight of flaring by the RRC, which has issued over 27,000 flaring permits since 2011.
“I know we’re all getting used to Zoom, but were the Commissioners watching some other hearing last week?” asked Emma Pabst, Global Warming Solutions Associate with Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “The proration hearing made strikingly clear that industry and environmentalists are united in calling for flaring cuts. Yet, the Commission voted to give out 16 more licenses to pollute today. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) also revisited calls for statewide oil and gas production cuts at today’s meeting, ultimately deciding to defer a vote.
Chairman Christian and Commissioner Craddick continued to call for additional information, while Commissioner Sitton again pushed for a vote on the matter. “I’m ready for us to vote on proration,” said Sitton, adding that the Commission’s “normal process” takes weeks, and that “in the meantime the entire world changes.”
Environment Texas Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmenttexascenter.org.