Statement from Commissioner Ryan Sitton on EPA Lawsuit Regarding Oil and Gas Waste Disposal

January 03, 2017

AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton today issued a statement regarding the court decision in a civil complaint filed against the EPA: Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-842, which was filed on May 4, 2016. The court decision, announced Dec. 28, directs the EPA to review and update its regulations on oil and gas waste disposal. 

In July of 2016, Commissioner Sitton sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy explaining that no additional federal regulation is needed in this area to protect the public and environment and asking EPA not to collude with environmentalists by settling the case. 

Commissioner Sitton issued the following statement on the decision: 

“We have hundreds of rules in place at the Railroad Commission specifically to safeguard the public and the environment from any potential risks associated with oil and gas waste disposal. There is no rational basis for EPA to layer additional bureaucracy on top of our regulation of oil and gas waste disposal rules. As stated in my letter to the EPA, at the Railroad Commission we take our duty to regulate these processes seriously and have stringent requirements and comprehensive rules in place to ensure there are no harmful releases. 

“The decision by EPA to settle caters only to environmental groups and adds unnecessary, burdensome regulation to an already suffering energy industry and economy. I am confident that the incoming presidential administration will put an end to this “sue and settle” approach to regulation, stop this type of political gamesmanship and base future decisions on sound science and data, as we do at the Railroad Commission.”

 Ryan Sitton was elected to the Railroad Commission in 2014 and is the first engineer to serve on the Commission in 50 years. Sitton is one of the world’s leading energy experts and founded PinnacleART, an engineering and technology company focused on reliability and integrity programs for the oil, gas, and petrochemical, mining, pharmaceutical, and wastewater industries. As Railroad Commissioner, Sitton is working to make the Commission more efficient and effective so Texas can lead America to energy independence.

About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit