Testimony of Alyssa Wallace Before the Railroad Commission August Open Meeting On Statewide Rule 8 Amendments – Requesting Public WorkshopsTestimonies

Good morning Commissioners, my name is Alyssa Wallace, I am the field organizer for Commission Shift. As a lifelong Texan, it is important that we preserve the beauty that Texas has to offer. And as a mother, it is my duty to make sure that the world I leave behind is better than I found it. That is why I am here today. Part of what makes our state so great is the opportunity to collaborate with our state agencies to give input on how our lands should be treated with the interest of future generations in mind. 

I am requesting that when the Railroad Commission announces proposed amendments to statewide rule 8 and Chapter 4, that the Commission considers connecting with the public by offering statewide public workshops. During our outreach to residents in towns like Nordheim, Center, and Orange Grove, we’ve uncovered serious concerns that affect the health and safety of these communities respectively and Texas generally. Some of these concerns include the proximity of Oil and Gas waste sites to schools and places of business and the lack of enforcement over these dangerous sites. Additionally, we are concerned with the lack of data and transparency on the origination, testing, and the verification of the waste received.  

Texans deserve to be heard on these issues– and more than that– they deserve to be in conversation and communication with rulemakers like the Railroad Commission. Industry representatives have gotten two years of closed door meetings with commissioners to discuss waste pit rules in detail. It is only fair that the people who have to live near oil and gas waste pits have the same access to Commissioners, and participation in the rules that will affect their health, environment, and quality of life.

Finally, people in counties impacted by waste pits speak languages other than English and have no way of communicating with the commission. The Railroad Commission must improve its outreach and language accessibility to include all Texans in the rulemaking and amendment process. The Railroad Commission has an opportunity to lead in community safety and inclusive decision making. I hope you will take it. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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