One of the prerequisites for holding statewide office in Texas nowadays is the gun-toting photo op. Governor Rick Perry's done plenty. So has Attorney General Greg Abbott and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst is the rare exception -- just more proof that he can't ... More >>
Wayne Christian is eying a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency charged with the twin tasks of regulating the oil and gas industry. So naturally, Christian is campaigning hard on his unwavering opposition to abortion. Christian, a former state representative from East Texas, tout ... More >>
The flier after the jump is for a fundraiser to benefit Railroad Commission of Texas Chair Barry Smitherman, who is vying to replace Greg Abbott as our next state attorney general. We point this out not because it is illegal or in any way surprising, but because it is legal and entirely unsurprising ... More >>
With Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings' bankruptcy possibly approaching as soon as the end of this month, Public Citizen warns that if the giant electric utility's assets are broken up, Texas taxpayers may end up paying to reclaim its coal mines. As we've reported before, the Sierra Club's Beyond ... More >>
The way Railroad Commission Chairman and Texas Attorney General candidate Barry Smitherman tells it, the aim of his 10 years of public service was not brazen tub-thumping for the industry he regulates in order to shore up deep-pocketed benefactors for his political aspirations. It's only ever been a ... More >>
Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, Texas' biggest power generator and utility, is in danger of going bankrupt, and some believe it's quite possible that the Texas taxpayer will get left with the tab. As we noted last month, the Railroad Commission of Texas allowed EFH's subsidiary, Luminant Mining ... More >>
Frederick Wright presumably knows a thing or two about the oil and gas business. He's a petroleum engineer who has worked on both sides of the fence. He spent some time with the Bureau of Land Management. Eventually, he worked for more than a decade as engineer in oil and gas fields. In 2007, he j ... More >>
In case you missed it, Gov. Rick Perry used his veto Friday to override the bipartisan will of the legislature, which sought to inject the most meager, almost universally agreeable ethics reform into the state oil and gas regulator. They attempted to do this because the Railroad Commission of Texas ... More >>
RT @psychscriv: Make sure none of these people have seats in 2014. twitter.com/PsychScriv/sta...We are in trouble when these Rs side w/ Sen Reid— Barry Smitherman (@SmithermanTX) April 11, 2013 The U.S. Senate voted only to consider gun safety legislation Thursday, which includes expanded ba ... More >>
State Representative Van Taylor, a real-estate investment banker from Plano, has introduced legislation that would settle, once and for all, who gets the last word on drilling under private property: That would be the Railroad Commission of Texas. The bill, filed Tuesday, would strip from Texas mun ... More >>
Once again, the Railroad Commission of Texas' raison d'être has been evaluated by a commission comprising state legislators and two regular citizens. Once again, it was given a reprieve from being abolished, given the gang-busting pace of oil and gas development over the last several years. But not ... More >>
Range Resources, a company that fracks shale formations across America, wants controversial former EPA regional chief Al Armendariz to shut up about what happened in Parker County. The company's lawyer sent him a letter recently insisting that "(he) cease from making further false and disparaging co ... More >>
The development of North Texas' Barnett Shale did not go as smoothly as gas companies had hoped. The flaming water in Parker County, elevated levels of benzene in DISH, elevated rates of breast cancer in Flower Mound, and any number of other reports contributed to the perception among the general pu ... More >>
Chesapeake Energy, one of the shale boom's biggest players, has amassed the rights to drill on acreage roughly equal to the size of West Virginia. It's a shrewd strategy -- tie up all the land you can using outrageous sums of borrowed cash (more than $30 billion), freeze out your competitors, then d ... More >>
Anybody who is at all familiar with the Texas Railroad Commission won't be surprised to learn that the almighty oil and gas regulator isn't exactly aggressive in its enforcement of the rules. The highly political commission's contradictory charges are to promote oil and gas development while holding ... More >>
America’s fracking gold rush portends the greatest environmental disaster of a generation.
Former EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz was the designated whipping boy at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing this week, though it proceeded in absentia. Armendariz totally blew it off, to the supreme indignation of Chairman Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican, and the assemble ... More >>
Politics is politics, and incumbents running for re-election in conservative Parker County, Texas, where the local economy is fueled entirely by shale-gas production, want to look like champions of the industry. But what if you're a judge? And what if, at the very moment you put up fliers of Rush Li ... More >>
Steve Lipsky's epic battle and what it means for the future of fracking.
When President Obama appointed SMU prof Al Armendariz to the EPA regional post in Dallas back in 2009, it was to the sound of collective groaning from the energy industry and Republican politicos. Only months before, he'd authored a study citing oil and gas production as a major source of air pollut ... More >>
The University of Texas Energy Institute cast a skeptical eye on the likelihood that the actual act of fracking could result in groundwater contamination. Particularly in the Barnett Shale, where aquifers sit thousands of feet above the shale rock, head researcher Dr. Chip Groat reasoned that the da ... More >>
In one of America's wealthiest suburbs, an unlikely band of drilling opponents helped drive away the world's biggest energy companies. Did they save the town or ruin it?
Photo by Leslie MinoraPhilip Dellinger, Regional Ground Water/Underground Injection Control Chief for the EPA, presents a fracking overview.Water, water, everywhere -- more than ample supply to frack, according to Jody Puckett, the director of Dallas Water Utilities, who spoke at yesterday's ... More >>
Photos by Taryn WalkerThe crowd at yesterday's Arlington trip sizes up an actively drilling Chesapeake site.Tuesday, Dallas gas drilling task force members -- and city council members Angela Hunt, Linda Koop and, but of course, Sheffie Kadane -- poured out of two white 15-passenger vans and into the ... More >>
Via.This morning the city posted the agenda for the first-ever meeting of the Gas Drilling Task Force, which kicks off Tuesday at 2 p.m., don't be late. The agenda's mostly a bunch of introductory what-whats: Chair Lois Finkelman will give some opening remarks, outline its scope and schedule, rev ... More >>
We added insult to injury a long time ago in this whole business of fracking in Dallas -- you know, the kind of natural gas drilling where they blow up underground rocks in a geological formation called the Barnett Shale, releasing trapped gas. Now, if you don't mind, I need to add injury to insu ... More >>
A little more than a month ago -- and before the Environmental Protection Agency assumed control of Texas's greenhouse gas permitting -- the EPA looked to be drawing a line in the sand over water contamination from gas drilling in the Barnett Shale, with an emergency order for Fort Worth-based Ra ... More >>
Your Texas Railroad Commission: Elizabeth Jones, Victor Carrillo and Michael WilliamsThe Texas Observer has published a story about the Railroad Commission of Texas that I want to call appalling, but I think the Railroad Commission has lost the ability to appall. The story exposes a pattern of de ... More >>
Hensley Field, where XTO hopes to begin Dallas' first gas drilling operation.After hearing from the public and discussing the issue at great length last Thursday, the City Plan Commission stopped short of recommending an SUP for XTO Energy to drill for gas at Hensley Field. It would be the first ... More >>
Ralph Nader's running for real this time
Oysterman Joe Nelson says pollution is slowly killing Galveston Bay. Is anyone listening?