Commissioner Seeks to Complete Rule-Making on Fracturing Bill a Year Early

Texas Railroad Commissioner (TRC) David Porter said would push the Railroad Commission (RRC) to complete the entire rule-making process requiring disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing a year ahead of the deadline set in recent legislation.

The Texas Legislature on May 31 sent a bill to Governor Rick Perry on requiring the RRC to write disclosure rules for hazardous chemicals by July 1, 2012. The bill requires the RRC to complete rule-making for all other chemicals used in the process by July 1, 2013.

"In order for Texans to maintain confidence in the oil and gas industry, it is important for us to get this done as quickly as possible," said Porter. "Hydraulic fracturing has been an economic driver for Texas, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding billions of dollars to local economies. We are currently seeing record activity in the Eagle Ford Shale due to hydraulic fracturing which is why I am creating a task force to study these very issues. We need to assure the public that hydraulic fracturing is safe and responsible – and has been for the past sixty years – and we need to do it now."

The RRC will begin the rule-making process at its next open conference this month and will hold open meetings throughout the state in coming months to garner public comment.

Porter said the agency may increase the number of members on TRC's newly formed Eagle Ford shale task force from the original plan for between 15 to 18 members due to the quality of applications. TRC is reviewing applications now and hopes to have selected all members of the voluntary task force, which will include a mix of energy industry members, local environmental groups, elected officials and landowners in the Eagle Ford shale area of South Texas, by the end of June.

TRC decided to form the Eagle Ford shale task force to head off the perception and communication problems encountered with the Barnett shale gas drilling boom hit Texas. "We're trying to be proactive, not reactive," Porter said.