Railroad Commission showered with flowers, calling for reform

A group gathered in Austin to hand deliver messages proclaiming love for pipeline safety, clean water, and healthy communities

Austin, TX — A few extra flowers were planted in the Railroad Commission’s typical open meeting plans.

During the March 13th public input section of the meeting, a group of Texans — along with advocacy group Commission Shift — handed over 100 flowers to the three Railroad Commissioners. Messages calling for reform were tied to each stem.

“The RRC is one of the most important agencies in the country when it comes to oil and gas oversight. We want to send a message to the Commissioners that we love public health, and democratic institutions, and we think the oil and gas agency of Texas should too!” said Lucas Jasso, a member of the flower delivery group, informally dubbed “the Cupid Delegation.”

The RRC had previously canceled their open meeting originally scheduled to take place on February 14, 2024.

“The cancellation is a stark example of why the Railroad Commission needs to adopt practices that better encourage public participation. Canceling an open meeting a week before limits participation, and places a financial burden on Texans who make travel plans to get to Austin,” said Marté Valadez, Commission Shift Organizing Director.

The Railroad Commission – already a widely unknown yet powerful agency – hosts open meetings that are infamous for how opaque they are to members of the public. Usually there are hundreds of agenda items, and members of the public have to register to give a comment and attend in person in order to speak. No virtual participation is available.

The RRC already faces criticism for their handling of Class II oil and gas injection wells in the state, as well as their role in the 2021 Winter Storm grid failure and subsequent aiding and shielding of the natural gas pipeline giant, Energy Transfer. Chairman Craddick has a beneficial interest in the company.

The “cupid delegation” marks a turn in public participation at the RRC open meetings, as Commission Shift and their supporters plan to continue the call for more advanced meeting notice, virtual options for making a public comment, and language accessibility.

Related News