Sierra Club Welcomes Safeguards on Oil and Gas Drilling

TexasRailroad Commission and U.S. EPA Implementing New Rules

'Gas Flare Arlington' by Wesley Miller

Today the Railroad Commission of Texas proposed a new rule for implementing HB 3328, the mandatory natural gas ‘fracking’ disclosure bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year. Under the Commission’s proposal, drillers of new natural gas wells will be required to begin reporting their use of chemicals, additives and base fluids as soon as the rules go into effect.

“The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club appreciates the hard work of the Railroad Commission staff and its commissioners in issuing a proposal sooner rather than waiting until 2012 as required under the law,” stated Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.  “With natural gas companies fracking at lightning speed all over the state — in the Barnett Shale in North Central Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, Haynesville Shale in East Texas and the Permian Basin in West Texas, it is past time to require that operators tell the public what chemicals they are sending down their gas production wells. We urge the public to read the proposed rule, make comments and attend the public meeting in October. Mandatory disclosure is a good first step toward proper regulation of oil and gas exploration.”

The proposed rules will be published in the Texas register for a 30-day public comment period beginning in early September, and the Railroad Commission has scheduled a public hearing on October 5th in Austin.   Assuming the Commissioners adopt a final rule in early November, the rules will become effective in late November.

A copy of the proposed rules and the process for submitting comments and participating in the public hearing can be found at the Railroad Commission website at

 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Oil and Gas Facilities Rule-making.  In addition to the proposed rules by the Railroad Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new air emissions standards on oil and gas facilities.  The EPA will hold three public meetings – on September on September 27, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 28, in Denver, Colorado, and September 29, in Arlington, Texas.   The Arlington hearing will be held from 9:00 AM CST until 8:00 PM CST at the Arlington Municipal Building in the City Council Chambers located at 101 W. Abram Street, Arlington, Texas 76010; telephone: (817) 459-6122.

Individuals and organizational representatives can contact:   Ms. Joan C. Rogers (919) 541-4487; fax number: (919) 541-3470; email (preferred method for registering), no later than by 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), 2 business days prior to each hearing.     

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Posted by Donna Hoffman, August 29, 2011

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