Oilfield companies helped to craft Texas’ new waste rules for 2 years before the public got to see themThe Texas TribuneMedia Coverage

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.

By Emily Foxhall & Erin Douglas
October 4th, 2023

That’s where Rule 8 comes in.

Residents want more protections; new rules would allow industry-created pilot programs

Cows roam on the Pilsner family’s Nordheim property in DeWitt County on Sept. 10. The family’s land sits next to a drilling waste disposal facility, visible in the distant background. Credit: Julius Shieh/The Texas Tribune

First: Ron Pilsner stands near the cistern where he stores well water on his property near Nordheim. The land has been in his family for over a century and sits next to a recently-built oil waste facility. Last: For the past few years, a citizen’s group has been checking the water and soil quality in the area with testing kits. Credit: Julius Shieh/The Texas Tribune

Sister Elizabeth Riebschlaeger, a longtime activist and opponent to Nordheim’s drilling waste facility, stands at a meeting hall near the city park on Sept. 10. The hall is where Riebschlaeger first gathered to meet with other opponents to the drilling waste facility. Credit: Julius Shieh/The Texas Tribune

A home across the street from an entrance to the oilfield waste disposal facility has a sign reading “DON’T DUMP ON NORDHEIM.” Credit: Julius Shieh/The Texas Tribune

Industry drafts the rules

Railroad Commissioner Jim Wright (far right, sitting with his fellow commissioners) says the proposed rules for oilfield waste disposal will be good for all Texans, not just industry as critics have claimed. Credit: Dimitri Staszewski for The Texas Tribune

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