The Railroad Commission of Texas is the state's chief energy regulatory agency.
Chairman Porter was elected statewide to serve the people of Texas in 2010 and was
unanimously elected by his fellow Commissioners to serve as Chairman in June 2015.
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AUSTIN-There are few industries in Texas as dynamic and essential to our state's
economy and our way of life as the energy industry. Despite recent economic challenges,
the energy industry in Texas employs tens of thousands of people in virtually every
corner of the state, providing jobs and income to countless families. And more and
more, as the industry changes and innovates, drilling rigs and fracking operations
that once only dotted the vast horizons of Texas are now sharing space with communities
That's where the Railroad Commission of Texas comes in. It's our job to make sure
the energy industry is doing its job in compliance with hundreds of state and federal
safety regulations. In fact, Texas has some of themostpragmatic regulations in the
entire country. These regulations include laws that require wells to be constructed
with multiple layers of steel and concrete to permanently protect groundwater. But
we can't do it alone. That's why experts from the Commission visited Kilgore recently,
to meet with local officials representing 14 East Texas communities ranging from
Mineola to Carthage to Palestine to discuss how we can work together to ensure
the safe, responsible production of our state's abundant energy resources.
To be successful, we must work in partnership with agencies at every level of the
regulatory process. Local officials and regulatory bodies are among our most important
partners. While the Commission has sole jurisdiction over subsurface (underground)
operations, municipal governments have the authority to address certain above ground
activity. Examples of these activities are fire and emergency response, traffic,
lights, noise or reasonable set back requirements. In regulating the operations
of oil and gas producers, our mission is the same as many local communities; protect
the public and our natural resources, while ensuring the industry can contribute
to our local and state economies through job creation and revenue generation. Because
many of these state and local regulations can impact each other, it's vital the
Commission and local governments work closely together to enforce the rules in a
fair and consistent manner.
The Commission has been regulating the oil and gas industry in Texas for nearly
100 years and is deep with staff knowledge and experience in energy exploration.
We can, and do, provide local agencies with expert resources on issues of public
safety with regard to oil and gas activity in their area. Often this is expertise
municipalities simply don't have access to, or do not need on a regular basis, but
can be extremely valuable in decision-making.
Local governments with oil and gas activity in their communities can help keep the
Commission up to date on industry activities in their communities, provide information
when necessary on how operators are complying with the law, and quickly report those
who are not in compliance to the Commission for possible enforcement actions.
This is why the Commission makes it a priority to visit with leaders and regulators
from cities around Kilgore. We want to make sure local communities like Tyler, Gilmer,
Marshall and Athens know the resources and expertise we have available to assist
them, and what our policies, procedures and capabilities cover. Texans living in
these communities are constituents of both their local municipality and the Railroad
Commission, and we share a responsibility to ensure safe and effective regulatory
practices. Strong and open communication between the Commission and our local partners
will help improve everyone's understanding of their role in regulating this important
industry, and help Texas remain a global leader in energy production.
Texas Railroad Commission Chairman David Porter was elected statewide by the people
of Texas to serve as a member of the Commission in November 2010. A Certified Public
Accountant and successful small business owner, Chairman Porter has worked with
oil and gas producers for nearly three decades providing strategic financial advice
and tax counsel. He is the senior member of the Commission with a proven record
of principle-driven, free market conservative leadership.