For Texans, fighting state-regulated oilfield waste dumps can be a costly, do-it-yourself effortThe Texas TribuneMedia Coverage

Some Texans who challenge oil and gas waste sites must spend significant sums and time on investigating what they say the Texas Railroad Commission should examine. Will new regulations for handling waste increase oversight or just maintain the status quo?

By Jason Buch
August 15, 2023

The cause of the odor was never determined. But Jones says she discovered she and her neighbors had to agitate and do their own investigations to convince regulators to act.

Railroad Commission’s role

Two wells of the Paxton Water Supply Corporation, shown here in January 2023, sit about 1,000 yards away from a controversial proposed dump site. Credit: Dylan Baddour/Inside Climate News

Uproar in East Texas

From left, Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, agency Chair Wayne Christian and Commissioner Jim Wright listen during a hearing in the William B. Travis Building in Austin. Credit: Dimitri Staszewski for The Texas Tribune

Critics’ perceptions of conflicts

Residents challenge disposal site

Built on a former caliche mine, the Blackhorn Environmental Services oil and gas waste disposal facility includes pits to separate solid and liquid material and other pits where waste is dried before it’s dumped in disposal cells. Credit: Source: Google Earth

Months after an oil and gas waste disposal facility opened near the home of Tara Jones and her family near Orange Grove, they started noticing a foul odor that would sometimes make them ill. Jones says it took more than a year of agitating before state regulators took action. Credit: Jason Buch/Public Health Watch

State goes to court

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