Oil Firms Helped Craft Texas’ New Waste Rules For 2 Years Before The Public

"The effort to update the state’s oilfield waste disposal rules was initiated by Railroad Commissioner Jim Wright, one of the state’s top oil and gas regulators who has investments in the industry."

"State regulators on Monday released their draft rules for what to do with all the hazardous oilfield waste that’s left over once a well is drilled. The announcement gives the public one month to comment on the new rules — while some industry representatives started giving input more than two years ago, documents and interviews show.

Oilfield waste executives and consultants helped write the regulations beginning in 2021. Oil and gas business advocates also gave feedback to the Railroad Commission of Texas, which regulates the industry.

The effort was initiated by a commissioner who has investments in oilfield waste companies. Jim Wright, one of the agency’s three elected commissioners, ran for his seat with an eye on rewriting what’s known as Rule 8. Wright owns stock in several hazardous waste management companies in Texas, according to statements filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.

In an interview, Wright brushed off critics who suggest his involvement in the industry makes him a biased regulator."

Emily Foxhall and Erin Douglas report for the Texas Tribune October 4, 2023.

Source: Texas Tribune, 10/05/2023