Text of the testimony (visuals in PDF only)
Dear Energy Resources Committee:
On behalf of Earthworks’ Texas members and myself, I would like to make the following comments opposing H.B. 40
I’m a 5th generation Texan who once welcomed drilling. At the outset of the fracking boom in 2002, I sent letters to companies urging them to drill my 42-acre farm in Wise County.
But as those who actually live with fracking can tell you, the reality is way worse than the fantasy of kicking back while the checks roll in.
The reality was, my water turned black and my air turned brown, and when the impacts became unbearable, I sold my farm and moved to Denton in 2009 where I thought I’d be safe. Silly me.
Just as I moved in, Range Resources decided to drill five wells across the street from McKenna Park and 200’ from a neighborhood. So I started working with Denton residents to get industry to clean up its act, first as a volunteer, and then full time when Earthworks hired me in 2011.
When our troubles began, the City of Denton sent us to State regulators, the Railroad Commission and TCEQ. You know what they told us? Solve the problems at the local level!
So we did. After 5 years, we banned fracking by a direct vote of Denton residents.
Apparently the Commission and some members of the Texas legislature don’t like how we solved our fracking problems.
Now the same government that gave us the back of its hand when we came to it for help is considering bills like HB 40 that would make sure there’s NO HELP for communities dealing with fracking.
Along with several other bills, HB 40 is nothing but a naked, big government power grab to tell Texans what they can do in their own communities and in their own homes.
Because HB 40 would essentially make the Railroad Commission, the same body that didn’t give a damn about city concerns before we banned fracking, it would make them the city council of every city in Texas when it comes to fracking.
HB 40 would limit all oil and gas oversight to that which is quote COMMERCIALLY REASONABLY unquote. Well we know what the Railroad Commission thinks is “commercially reasonable” and it isn’t what REASONABLE TEXANS think is reasonable:
Does this look commercially reasonable?
The Railroad Commission thinks this is commercially reasonable. But I don’t, and neither do many cities around Texas. And any bill that forces a community to accept what it doesn’t want is the very definition of big government. The authors and sponsors of this bill should be ashamed.