"Oil and gas regulators are assuring Texans the natural gas system will keep functioning this winter, saying they’ve done more than 3,000 inspections to check on it.
What they’re not saying is many of those inspections found that gas production and transmission facilities can’t guarantee they’re prepared for another hard freeze.
For about 40 percent of the pipeline and storage sites Texas deems critical, operators hadn’t conducted a winterization test or company officials didn’t know if one had been performed, according to records from the state Railroad Commission obtained under a Public Information Act request. State inspectors also didn’t actually visit dozens of sites because of “time constraints,” the records show.
One gas-fired plant was forced to shut down a month after state inspectors said its supply pipelines had passed an inspection, records show. In other cases, inspectors appear to have overlooked important information.
Critics said there’s an underlying problem — the Railroad Commission has yet to write winterization standards for gas wells, pipelines and storage facilities. The lack of clear guidelines makes it hard to judge the effectiveness of the commission’s inspection campaign, said Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas."