The most important election no one’s heard of

I’ve focused a lot on the presidential election on this blog and in my social media posts. It’s easy to focus on because it’s something everyone is interested in. I also have said that state and local elections are more important. in support of that claim, here’s one for my Texas friends.

Do you know about the Texas Railroad Commission?

Some highlights, followed by the article link below:

“Despite its yawn-inducing name, the Railroad Commission is a powerful state agency that regulates the coal, oil, and gas industries. It approves permits for fracking, signs off on pipeline routes, grants companies the power of eminent domain, and oversees coal mining and cleanup. In a state that’s heavily dependent on oil and gas extraction to power state and local budgets, it has tremendous influence on the economy. The agency is governed by three commissioners who are elected to six-year terms. A Democrat has not served on the commission since 1994.”

“Over the last few years, the agency has faced increasing scrutiny of its regulation of flaring—an industry term for burning off excess natural gas when pipelines are already at capacity, or when that gas is deemed unworthy of the cost it takes to send it to refineries. The commission sets limits on flaring, but it also routinely grants long-term exemptions to operators who request one. The agency has granted more than 12,000 such exemptions over the past two years, allowing oil and gas companies to burn hundreds of millions of cubic feet of natural gas. That’s up from around 300 in 2010.”

“The Republican nominee has also been found in violation of state environmental and permitting rules more than 250 times by the very agency that he hopes to join. The Railroad Commission also fined him more than $180,000 in 2017, and he is battling a series of lawsuits that accuse him of fraud. (Wright’s campaign declined to provide Grist any comments for publication.)”

One thought on “The most important election no one’s heard of

  1. Ryan Gillis says:

    The troubling part of this is actually what is being flared. Its not just natural gas that might come out of your stove top, which would also be bad from an environmental perspective. The flared gases are often very high in sulfur content which means that these operations pose a long term respiratory health hazard for the Texas communities nearby and contributes heavily to acid rain that the US had previously conquered through the Clean Air Act. Look at the studies of Chinese life expectancies before and after they cleaned up their sulfur burning. It’s pretty shocking and I think any reasonable Texas should oppose these indiscriminate exemptions.


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