CBS 7 Exclusive: Report Claims That Oil Companies Are Breaking Rules, Not Being Regulated 9/25/12
CBS 7 News Reporter
September 25, 2012
GARDENDALE, TX - In the document, exclusively obtained by CBS 7 earlier today, the Gardendale Accountability Project (GARDAP) and 11 other Texas environmental groups are demanding oil companies clean up their act to better protect the public.
In a 124 page report titled "Breaking All the Rules: The Crises In Oil and Gas Regulatory Enforcement", Earthworks, GARDAP and 11 other Texas groups claim that the Texas oil & gas regulations are not being enforced.
It’s a problem they say is happening right here in west Texas.
"Our response is going to be to continue to do what we're doing ... which is to highlight the failures of the state government to enforce their own rules and educate the citizens of the dangers involved, " stated GARDAP President Dan Boggs.
The year long, in depth examination compares oil & gas practices in Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Mexico and Colorado. They say the stats are based from the Texas Railroad Commission.
"The most shocking thing to me was the tremendous work load there is in the Texas Railroad Commission, " stated Boggs.
The research claims "state enforcement data shows 296,000 active Texas wells go uninspected [and] financial penalties total less than the value of one well."
The commission never directly denied these allegations. However they did state that they have added 13 new oil and gas field inspector positions in 2012, bringing their total to 153 inspectors.
In a statement from the Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, he said "Enforcement has always been a high priority of mine as reflected by my record at the Public Utility Commission and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office."
Executive director of Earthworks Jennifer Krill stated, “Until common sense changes are implemented, states must refuse to issue new drilling permits”.
The groups say the report was just the beginning of this battle for more regulation in the oil industry.