Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Railroad Commission Results: Craddick and Smitherman Win

Photos courtesy of Craddick for Texas/Smitherman for Texas

Republican Christi Craddick, left, and incumbent Republican Barry Smitherman, both won seats on the Railroad Commission of Texas.

As expected, both Republicans running for the Railroad Commission of Texas won their seats tonight.

Republican chairman Barry Smitherman easily won re-election to the state agency that oversees oil and gas drilling. Smitherman faced no Democratic opponent.

In the race for the open seat, Republican attorney Christi Craddick defeated Democratic candidate Dale Henry.

Both candidates received significant funding from the oil and gas industry.



    I live at ground zero for urban drilling. We have about 60 padsites in our 99 sq mile town here in Arlington TX. The following requests won’t cover public protections on the huge buildout and the associated human errors or accidents. We had a drill spill in Lake Arlington, our drinking source, a couple of years ago and have had maybe a dozen emission events over the last couple of years that I am aware of. The following are the items lacking in our oil and gas drilling ordinance….

    1. Use electric (not diesel) rigs in urban areas.
    2. Video tape ALL cement casing pours when it comes back up to the top through the annulus so that there is proof of an even pour and ensure all wells have electric bond log tests.
    3. All drilling mud farming (private & commercial) and *brine “road spraying” is subject to open records of water & soil test results.
    4. We need the industry to invent technology to keep the toxic, silica dust on the padsite-those pathetic pillow case looking socks aren’t getting the job done.
    5. Mandate ventless, emission free flowback tanks.
    6. We shouldn’t have to wait 2.5 years for the EPA mandated Green Completions and allow venting or flaring in urban or rural areas….methane losses should be prevented-period.
    7. The pipeline should be in place FIRST before fracturing so that flowback doesn’t sit in the ground for months festering some unknown, man-made hydrogen sulfide-like stale water flowback.
    8. The setback away from people should be substantial. Rural method drilling is not acceptable in urban areas. A doctor who is an environmental tester said that the health effects are being seen downwind from about 1,800 – 2,500 feet.
    9. Zero tolerance for underinspected, or faked Waste Disposal Injection Well casing pressure tests which risks eventual migration of toxic fluids into our drinking supplies.
    10. State entities overseeing oil and gas should regulate how close the old wells are to new wells.

    …..hope the newly elected RRC folks read and heed this…

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