Testimony of Virginia Palacios Before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development #2
The 2021 regular legislative session wrapped up without enacting the most meaningful action to prevent another winter power blackout or reform the Railroad Commission of Texas. In response, Commission Shift Executive Director Virginia Palacios issued the following statement:
“Texas lawmakers blew their chance this legislative session to do anything to meaningfully prevent a repeat of the devastating winter power outages that killed as many as 700 Texans and cost our state billions of dollars. The legislature failed to set firm deadlines for energy facilities to winterize and assure that penalties would exceed the cost of winterization measures.
“State leaders’ priority legislation to address the winter storms, Senate Bill 3, is largely a failure. It will likely be cheaper for gas supply chain companies to pay a penalty than to winterize their systems.”
“We call on Governor Abbott to include adequate penalties and deadlines for companies to complete winterization in any special legislative sessions. We will push to see meaningful reforms that obligate the oil and gas sector to winterize and plan ahead in the rulemaking process at the RRC. We must adopt reforms that prevent tragedies like the winter blackouts from happening again.
“We are pleased to see that House Bill 3973 creates a committee to study abandoned oil and gas wells and the use of the oil and gas regulation and cleanup fund. Orphan oil and gas wells across Texas are festering, and the Railroad Commission of Texas needs to prioritize cleaning them up. We hope to see a diverse committee assembled that considers the needs of people affected by orphan wells.”
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, oliver@steadyhandPR.com, 512.289.8618