Railroad Commission Asks Ken Paxton to Fight EPA’s New Methane Rule

Seven people stand behind a podium with the Texas Capitol in the background. A woman holds a giant pair of scissors that say "Cut methane"

Screenshot taken from Environment Texas video of 1/30/24 press conference

This week, representatives of several organizations including Environment Texas, Commission Shift, Public Citizen, and the Environmental Defense Fund pleaded with the three elected commissioners of the Texas Railroad Commission not to formally oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane rule, which was finalized in December. The Sierra Club had made the same pitch about a month earlier at a December RRC open meeting. 

At issue was an item on their January 30 agenda to refer the new methane rule to the Texas Attorney General’s office to legally oppose the rule. Not surprisingly, all three commissioners approved the measure, announcing their opposition to a rule they would be expected to implement along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the other state agency involved in implementing these finalized federal rules. 

TCEQ is expected to make a similar pitch to embattled AG Ken Paxton in the coming days. In essence, Texas elected and appointed officials are saying we don’t like this rule because it could affect the profits of oil and gas producers, despite its benefit to Texan’s health and the climate. 

In response, the Sierra Club joined our allies for a press event to condemn the decision. The full press conference can be viewed here, with the Lone Star Chapter’s Conservation Director Cyrus Reed making comments around the 20 minute mark. 

His comment? TL;DR: Very disappointed but not surprised.

For more background, see this press release from December: EPA Finalizes New Methane Rule That Will Cut Oil and Gas Pollution in Texas