Craddick decries rise in federal initiatives challenging energy industry

February 15, 2024

Midland Reporter-Telegram

by Mella McEwen

Federal regulatory initiatives are challenging the Railroad Commission as never before in its century-old history.

Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick decried initiatives from tailpipe emission standards she said are designed to force consumers to buy electric vehicles to methane emissions rules she said are crippling the state’s oil and gas industry.

Addressing the monthly membership luncheon of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association, she said once the Environmental Protection Agency’s finalized methane rules are published, the Texas Attorney General has been asked to file a lawsuit.

Craddick also expressed frustration waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to make a decision on the state’s application for primacy over permitting Class VI wells for carbon dioxide injection. She is also frustrated with a lack of guidance from the government on how to use the $79 million the commission has been given to plug abandoned wells.

“We have $79 million in the bank, we’re ready to go, and we found out they added more requirements,” she told the audience. Those include requiring the commission to go to the State Historical Society and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service before plugging wells.

“We are sitting on $79 million – of your federal tax dollars – and we’re waiting until they tell us what to do,” she said.

She reiterated her call for practical, sensible regulations. Installing wind turbines and solar panels will still not make it possible to eliminate fossil fuels, she said.

“You don’t wave a wand and change everything overnight,” she said. “Or propose ridiculous rules and regulations that hamper domestic production and make life harder for everyone.”

Craddick, who is running for reelection, commented, “As a regulator my responsibility is to see companies are given the freedom to innovate while also protecting people and resources.”

She faces Christie Clark, Corey Howell, James Matlock and Petra Reyes in the Republican Primary on March 5. Bill Burch and Katherine Culbert are the Democratic candidates for the position.

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