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Texas Railroad Commissioner

6-year term. Must be at least 25 years old, a Texas resident, and a registered voter. Regulates the energy industry, including preventing pollution, well plugging and site remediation, pipeline safety and damage prevention, surface mining of coal and uranium, gas utility rates, and alternative fuels.Período de 6 años. Debe tener por lo menos 25 años de edad, ser residente de Texas y ser un votante registrado. Regula la industria energética, incluyendo la prevención de la contaminación, así como el sellado de pozos y la rehabilitación de sitios, la seguridad de las tuberías y la prevención de daños, la minería a cielo abierto de carbón y uranio, las tarifas de servicios públicos de gas y los combustibles alternativos

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  • Candidate picture

    Roberto R. 'Beto' Alonzo
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Chrysta Castañeda
    (Dem)

  • Ryan Sitton
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Kelly Stone
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Mark Watson
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    James 'Jim' Wright
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

Background: What training, experience, and background qualify you for this position?

Pipelines: What are your recommendations relating to regulation of pipelines?

Natural Resources: How do you plan to balance oil, gas, and mining interests with protection of natural resources?

What other issues do you believe will be most pressing for the Railroad Commission?

Education: University of Texas at Austin Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Twitter: @alonzo_for
As a former State Representative, I know the law, legislative and the budget process which funds the RRC and other state agencies. As an experienced litigator, I can rule on appeals regarding oil and gas, pipeline, utility and environmental issues before the RRC an. Originally from Crystal City, I know the oil and gas issues impacting both rural and urban communities.
The Legislature should enact laws to ensure that regulation of pipelines is meaningful. An application for a permit should require comprehensive information regarding routes , economic, environmental and historical impact, and not based on a simple form. The exercise of Eminent Domain should be fair to all . Monitor compliance with rules and regulations by industry.
Review and update provisions to allow development, reduction of waste while protecting the environment. Ensure that the public has notice of development and impactful changes in their area and opportunity to submit input on the proposals. Study cost effective methods to reduce flaring in order to reduce waste and increase access to pipelines.
Monitor the relationship between drilling and seismicity and support innovation in drilling processes including the use of water in fracking. Encourage the use of alternative fuels . Review agency processes for award of contracts, compliance with HUB and diversity in hiring at all levels. Monitor practices in the field to increase worker safety.
Education: SMU Dedman School of Law, J.D. cum laude, 1991 Kansas State University, B.S. Industrial Engineering, 1985 Harvard College, Applied Math major, 1981-1983
Twitter: @ChrystaForTexas
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I am an engineer, oil and gas attorney, community organizer and mom, with over 30 years of experience working in and around the oil and gas industry. I know both the law and the business of oil and gas and will work tirelessly to get the Railroad Commission back on track in enforcing our environmental protections and safety regulations.
The Commission oversees pipeline safety for intrastate pipelines and we need to update those regulations to meet today’s standards. Laying new pipelines creates challenges beyond the Commission’s powers, and addressing those challenges will require the Legislature to act. I’ll use my expertise to press for a framework that includes transparency and public input.
We must enforce existing laws prohibiting flaring, the harmful practice of burning natural gas. It wastes our natural resources, takes revenues away from our state and causes environmental and health concerns. I will use my expertise to deploy alternative technologies that will reduce the amount of flaring, convert it to usable electricity and clean up our air.
We need to reduce harmful methane emissions. Methane escapes through leakage, aging equipment, and intentional venting, which is against the law. I will improve the detection and enforcement programs. We can use drones equipped with infrared cameras to detect leaks. Education can improve prevention and we will need to better enforce existing laws.
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Education: HS Diploma--Aldine Senior High School (8th in class); BS in Family and Consumer Sciences--Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University) GPA=3.55; MA in Health Education/Health Promotion--The University of Texas at Austin GPA=4.0
Twitter: @teamkstone2020
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As an educator, I’ve implemented harm reduction strategies to improve health, taught capstone college courses regarding policies, laws, & regs affecting individuals & families at local, state, & fed levels. As an environmental activist, I’ve worked to clean up litter & pollution, encourage waste consciousness, change consumer behavior, & advocated for environmental policy.
Kinder Morgan & Whitewater Midstream & all pipeline companies must conduct environmental impact studies first. Construction & Operation of these pipelines could impact health at Jacob's Well, Cypress Creek, Blanco River, Barton Springs, San Marcos River and Pecos, Dimmit, Kenedy, Maverick, La Salle, Duval, Jim Wells, Nueces, Gillespie, Blanco, Hays & Caldwell counties.
Balancing interests vs. protections? The RRC’s protection of oil & gas interests have far outweighed that of our natural resources. In order to find balance, I'd increase protections of natural resources by denying permits for flaring & committing to the initiatives of the GND, transitioning to healthy outcomes & full employment as we eliminate crude oil export by 2040.
We must change the name of the Railroad Commission. Comprised of 3-statewide elected officials, the RRC has nothing to do with railroads & everything to do with oil, gas, & pipelines. Until it becomes more transparent to voters, the intentionally confusing name continues to allow the tyranny of Big Oil, regulating itself w/o regard for the climate crisis or our environment
Education: JD, Tulane University BA, Tulane University
I have directly participated in drilling oil and gas wells in Texas. I have worked for Exxon, J. Ray McDermott, and the EPA. In the last twenty years I have watched the growing influence of the energy industry on the RRC. Texas has a proud history of protecting her natural resources. I will promote smart energy production to help hardworking men and women of Texas.
Safety first. Pipelines account for 70% of oil transport in the US. I will ensure that companies regularly inspect and maintain pipelines to prevent environmental hazards. Care must be taken to protect property owners from abusive use of eminent domain. Pipelines are absolutely essential to the Texas Oil Economy. Adopt newest pipeline technology and materials.
Protecting Texas energy resources and the environment is a primary objective of the RRC. The intelligent and safe production of energy resources overlaps with best practices in the oil patch. I will err on protecting the environment and the health of Texas energy resources. The RRC will ensure that smart energy practices take priority in the Texas Oil and Gas Industry.
We need smart energy practices. Flaring is the practice of burning unused gas from oil wells causing air pollution in beautiful West Texas skies and elsewhere. Coal mining reclamation decisions by RRC allow mining companies to leave behind toxic material, destroying value and causing dangerous contamination. Today's RRC favors big business over hardworking Texans.
Education: Calallen High School in Corpus Christi
Twitter: @JimWright4Texas
I own five businesses and am associated with 14 other businesses that deal with environmental and transport issues in a wide range of industries, including the oil and gas business. I have been involved in these businesses since 1986. I am also a rancher.
-- Increased automated leak detection systems. -- More pipelines developed as part of our state's infrastructure to deliver our natural resources in a safer and more economically feasible method.. .
Implementation of better rules and the way that waste byproducts are handled currently are crucial to balancing the public interests and the economic needs of our citizens. The Railroad Commission needs to be more involved in using the volume of resources that are available under today's technology.
-- Implement and use proven technology for better communication with citizens and members of the oil and gas industry. -- Stronger self-policing actions and reporting by Natural Resource producers. -- Life cycle analysis and development to ensure that future generations are reliant on best environmental management practices by the Industry.