Environment Texas Urges the Railroad Commission of Texas to Order Production Cuts

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Emma Pabst

Environment Texas

AUSTIN — Today, in the wake of historic declines in the price of oil, Texas regulators hosted an emergency meeting to discuss statewide production cuts for oil and gas operators. 

Emma Pabst, Global Warming Solutions Associate with Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, will today deliver the following testimony to the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC): 

“I urge you to use the power granted to you by the great state of Texas in order to issue statewide production cuts, prorating cuts to companies with the worst rates of flaring. Such a step will help stabilize the market, while significantly reducing the damage from flaring.” 

“When our legislators charged the Commission with defending the state we call home, they entrusted each of you with the time-honored duty of preserving Texas’ natural resources and environment. Today, you have the opportunity to honor that legacy. You must stop polluters from poisoning our air and water and jeopardizing the future of my generation and that of my children.” 

According to analysis from Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, flaring in the Permian basin contributed to over 2% of projected US greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. 

The meeting, requested by Pioneer Natural Resources U.S.A. Inc. and Parsley Energy Inc., aimed to determine the “reasonable market demand for oil, whether wasteful production either is occurring or is reasonably imminent, and, if so, the necessary and appropriate proration orders to prevent such waste,” according to the companies’ cover letter and motion

In the week leading up to the hearing, Environment Texas also delivered a comment letter signed by over a dozen environmental groups urging the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) to curtail production, prorating cuts to companies with the worst rates of flaring. The letter notes that “continuing to allow routine flaring is an abdication of duty by the RRC that has led to gross waste of natural resources as well as serious harm to the environment.” 

According to Texas A&M researchers, flaring in the Permian Basin contributes as much smog-forming nitrogen oxide pollution as nearly three mid-size coal-fired power plants in Texas every year. 

The RRC has approved every flaring request they have received since 2011, granting a total of over 27,000 exemptions to Texas’ Statewide Rule 32. 


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