Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christ Craddick criticized finger-pointing at the oil and gas industry for recent Texas tremors in a May 15 interview, noting that the cause of recent seismic events is still not known “for sure.” Chairwoman Craddick commented, “The political rush to judgment and the press rush to judgment that every earthquake’s being caused by oil and gas in this state, particularly in the metroplex, is a bit concerning when the facts haven’t necessarily proven that out.”Craddick also discussed the importance of preventing delays in the Railroad Commission’s well permitting process, which now includes a seismicity risk review for disposal wells. Craddick criticized the speed of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management which takes 290 days under proposed new rules to review a standard drilling permit, remarking “that’s not good and efficient, that’s not good for the economy long-term.”

In addition, Craddick stressed the importance of state-level regulation for hydraulic fracturing, describing the Texas scheme as a “model” in contrast to EPA proposals for fracking on federal lands that “don’t make a lot of sense.” In particular, Craddick highlighted the fact that although the Commission will continue to try to work with the EPA, Texas’ regulatory autonomy has resulted in exemplar regulation, commenting that “the Railroad Commission has some of the best practice rules for well casing.”

Craddick’s statements come at a time when state and federal authorities are considering induced seismicity regulations, and experts continue to ponder the effects for the energy industry.