Texas flaring: a response to the Railroad Commission

August 23, 2021 • Jack McDonald
Texas Flaring: a comprehensive government failure; what the Railroad Commission fails to track, it can’t govern has forced a reaction from regulators and industry by finding that 69-84% of Texas methane flares are unpermitted. That reaction: the unpermitted flares our… More »

Jack McDonald to EPA: give my generation time

June 15, 2021 • Jack McDonald
Jack provided the below comment live to the EPA during its June 15, 2021 methane public listening session to provide input on the rule it will publish this September to cut oil and gas production’s methane pollution.   My name is… More »

Reflections from the Permian: an industry that can’t be bothered to fix pollution

May 22, 2021 • Jack McDonald
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Permian Basin with Sharon Wilson and Miguel Escoto for the first time. Unfortunately, being out in the field makes it even more clear just how much of a problem oil and gas… More »

Affirmative defense… of who?

April 16, 2021 • Jack McDonald
Each state implements environmental policy differently. Obviously, each state has different regulations that change the way oil and gas operators behave. A key way that state discretion over environmental policy shows up is the Clean Air Act’s  National Ambient Air… More »

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Texas ‘Find It Fix It’ Initiative: The oil & gas polluter’s other get-out-of-jail-free card

March 27, 2021 • Jack McDonald
Yesterday, I outlined the Texas Audit Act and how it isn’t a replacement for real regulatory oversight in the state. Today, I am going to talk about the Find it Fix it initiative at the TCEQ. Yet another program that… More »

The Texas Audit Act is a get-of-jail-free card for oil & gas polluters

March 26, 2021 • Jack McDonald
The web of regulations that govern oil and gas operators can be complicated. One of the most complicated aspects of that regulatory apparatus is the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act (the Audit Act). This 1995 law was… More »

On flaring, the Texas Railroad Commission might be blowing smoke

February 1, 2021 • Jack McDonald
UPDATED FEB 4 Last week Earthworks published an analysis comparing Environmental Defense Fund flyovers of flares against the Texas Railroad Commission’s flaring permit database for those flares observed on Texas General Land Office lands. The results: 75% of observed flares… More »

Flaring is (Still) Flamingly Stupid, but Unlit Flaring is Worse

January 25, 2021 • Jack McDonald
In May, Earthworks’ Senior Field Advocate, Sharon Wilson, wrote a blog post about the increasing prevalence of unlit flare stacks at oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin. Unlit and otherwise malfunctioning flares can release large volumes of pollution… More »