Flaring is usually forbidden under Texas law. But unfortunately, Texas’ oil and gas regulator, the Railroad Commission of Texas, has granted over 27,000 permits allowing it to happen anyways. Despite the agency’s legal obligation to prevent industry from wasting our state’s natural resources, the Commission has not denied a single permit to flare since 2012. As the country’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, Texas can put a stop to massive amounts of carbon pollution - but only if we take big action, now.
With companies, investors, and even industry spokespeople speaking out about flaring, it’s clear that the pressure is building. Last year, a pipeline company sued the Commission for allowing a company to flare methane gas despite an existing pipeline connection to get the gas to market. Ears started to perk up, investors started to ask questions, and to date, three major Texas oil companies -- BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips -- have already made commitments to end routine flaring.
We shouldn’t have to count on corporations to do the Railroad Commission’s job, though, which is why we’re urging the Railroad Commission of Texas to end routine flaring by 2025. From Commissioner Christian’s accusatory statements about investors and environmentalists, to the Commission’s recent adoption of a lackluster flaring proposal, it’s clear that the pressure is getting to them, which means that right now, we have an opportunity to end flaring in Texas.