RRC Reminds Operators to Reduce Light Near McDonald Observatory

February 17, 2016

AUSTIN – The Railroad Commission of Texas today issued a Notice to Operators to remind oil and gas operators of the need to minimize lighting impacts from oil and gas activities in the vicinity of the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis.

The Notice follows collaboration between Commission staff, representatives of the McDonald Observatory, and the oil and gas industry related to lighting practices at oil and gas production sites. The growth of oil and gas drilling and production in the Permian Basin has generated light reflecting off the sky raising concerns by the McDonald Observatory about nighttime light pollution.  

Industry operators active in the seven county region have worked with the McDonald Observatory to adopt new lighting practices to help prevent ambient lighting from interfering with the highly sensitive and important scientific study conducted at the McDonald Observatory. By issuing the Notice to Operators the Railroad Commission is highlighting the importance of mitigating excessive light while improving visibility at the work site.

The Notice advises operators to be aware of applicable outdoor lighting requirements and refers them to helpful resources. Lighting solutions can be simple and cost effective, resulting in better visibility for the McDonald Observatory and at oil and gas production locations. The Notice to Operators on minimizing lighting impacts from oil and gas activities can be viewed HERE.

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 http://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.