Weatherization Should Not be Optional

The Railroad Commission’s proposed rule on critical infrastructure would allow any natural gas supply chain operator to opt-out of future weatherization requirements.

This February, Winter Storm Uri caused massive power outages across Texas that led to hundreds of deaths and estimated damages of up to $295 billion -making it the costliest natural disaster in Texas history. Gas wells froze over and pipeline compressors lost power, restricting fuel supplies to electric generators. Our state’s oil and gas regulator, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), knew in 2011 that it needed to winterize the gas supply chain, but it failed to act.

This year, lawmakers passed a bill requiring the RRC to designate parts of the natural gas supply chain as “critical infrastructure,” which will eventually be subject to weatherization requirements. But the RRC’s proposed critical infrastructure rule allows any operator to opt-out of the designation. That means that some pipelines could be weatherized, while gas wells that supply fuel will not be weatherized -leaving Texans in the same vulnerable place we were in this February.

No one wants to relive the stressful and tragic events Texans went through in February.

Tell the Railroad Commission to make critical infrastructure designation -and weatherization- mandatory.