Railroad Commissioner Sitton Concerned With Impacts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Proposal

April 18, 2017

AUSTIN — Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton today sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expressing concerns regarding a proposal that would modify longstanding interpretations of rules for vessels transporting specialized equipment used by the offshore oil and gas industry. CBP’s flawed proposal has excluded important stakeholders that will be impacted by the proposed changes to decades-old interpretations.

“As a Railroad Commissioner, it is my duty to express concerns when the oil and gas industry, which accounts for 30 percent of our state’s economy, is harmed by federal bureaucracy,” Sitton said. “This proposal would stifle our offshore energy production, cost the state millions of dollars, and cost jobs on the Gulf Coast.”

In his letter, Commissioner Sitton calls for CBP, at the very least, to implement a formal rulemaking proceeding. He also calls attention to the fact that the proposal, as written, does not include a comprehensive list of rule interpretations that will be changed. The Notice is styled as “Proposed Modification and Revocation of Ruling Letters Relating to Customs Application of the Jones Act to the Transportation of Certain Merchandise and Equipment Between Coastwise Points,” 51 Customs Bulletin 3 at 1 (Jan. 18, 2017).

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 uses his technical expertise and business experience to make decisions for the state that are based on sound science and employs a fiscally conservative approach to prioritize the agency’s efforts.

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/.