Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eagle Ford Shale Task Force being created by Texas RRC: will it include Laredo input?

Eagle Ford Shale Task Force on the horizon

From Associated Press
The Texas Railroad Commission is creating a task force in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas to ensure that regulators can keep up with the oil and gas boom there, one of the three commissioners said Monday.

David Porter said the state's main drilling regulator wants to avoid repeating problems that arose when gas drilling took off in the Barnett Shale in North Texas in the middle of the past decade. Breakthroughs in two technologies — hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling — have allowed drillers to tap economically into prolific shale formations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and many other parts of the country.

The speed of development in North Texas led to backlashes against drilling in some communities, Porter said. “There's a perception problem that no one was regulating the oil and gas industry,” Porter said. “And it's still out there, that the oil companies are doing whatever they want.”

Porter said he believes that the Eagle Ford has the potential to be the biggest single economic driver in South Texas' history. The task force will comprise a dozen members, including large and small producers, oil-field services companies, local elected officials, landowners and environmental groups. “We want to make sure the lines of communication are clear,” Porter said. But the Railroad Commission might face staff shortages because of deep cuts the Legislature is making this session.

“That's been the highest priority within the commission, to keep everything moving economically,” Porter said, acknowledging the potential for conflict between that function and enforcing safety rules, including ensuring that underground aquifers aren't contaminated by drilling activities. “It's a fine line we walk at the Railroad Commission, between protecting public health and safety and promoting the industry,” Porter said.

LaredoTejas has to wonder just who will Porter include in his Task Force. He says it will include elected officials : does that mean Henry Cuellar, who has recently shown a strong leaning towards the industry's interests and away from environmental concerns?  It might be helpful to look at just who was assigned to Porter's "Leadership Team" not long ago.

Are the Texas RRC's actions mainly to streamline and expedite the permitting of all these drilling sites? Perhanps the ecological suppossed concerns are simply an afterthought. It sure sounds that way to me. If the permitting process had NOT been slowed down, would this task force have been created?  Will he now fill the Task Force with devoted cronies?

Texas Railroad Commissioner-Elect David Porter Announces Leadership Team

Texas Railroad Commissioner-Elect David Porter today announced his new leadership team. Amy Maxwell has been named Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel. William Fullerton will be Director of Public Affairs.
“I’m looking forward to serving the people of Texas. Both Ms. Maxwell and Mr. Fullerton bring skills which will prove most valuable in accomplishing my goals for Texas,” Commissioner-Elect Porter said. “With the looming budget shortfall, and as the Railroad Commission works through the Sunset Process, it is important for our State that the Commission continues its common-sense regulation of Texas’ largest industry.”

Ms. Maxwell is an energy and real estate attorney at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP in Austin.  She is an honors graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and received a Bachelor of Arts in Government with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. She previously served on the staffs of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn.

Mr. Fullerton is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and most recently served as Commissioner-Elect Porter’s Campaign Manager during his victorious bid for Texas Railroad Commissioner. Previously, he served as Commissioner Michael Williams’ Political Director and has worked on numerous campaigns.


  1. Oh please. This guy Porter worked as a CPA for oil and gas for decades. It's amusing how it's mentioned that environmentalists are going to be included in the task force.

    I don't know if you could call this (task force) damage control. All Porter will do is try to reassure the public so the leases can go out expeditiously.

  2. In the meantime, Henry is laughing all the way to the bank. I'm sure he know ol' Porter pernonally and they are working from the same script.