Columnist Lieber says state regulators don’t protect Texans

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Dallas Morning News watchdog columnist Dave Lieber recently called Texas the “Lone Scam State” because he said state regulators don’t always use their power to protect Texans.

“As your watchdog, I have documented for years the failures of state regulatory bodies who either because of staff and budget cuts or political persuasion refuse to go after bad dudes,” Lieber wrote in a column. “I’ve showed how this happens in the attorney general’s office, the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Real Estate Commission and the Utility Commission.”

The Railroad Commission regulates oil and gas drilling and distribution. Lieber claims that the commission has repeatedly been lenient with Atmos despite safety concerns.

“In the past 10 years, the state has cited Atmos more than 90 times for not repairing dangerous gas leaks promptly in Dallas-Fort Worth and other parts of the state,” Lieber wrote. “But state records show penalties were levied by the Railroad Commission only three times out of those 90 citations.”

There have been more than two dozen gas leaks since 2006 in which nine people died and 22 people were injured, he said.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Watch this excerpt from the Sunset Commission hearings where Christi Craddick waffled around when responding to accusations that the Railroad Commission didn’t notify Chasewood Texas citizens of well water polluted by the oil and gas industry. Craddick and her lackey Ryan Sitton repeatedly denied that any Texas well water had ever been polluted by oil and gas. She admitted that the Railroad Commission knew the well was polluted by oil and gas but said that the they are not legally (or even morally) bound to inform local residents whose health was compromised.
    The Chasewood community reported upwards of forty cancer deaths centered around this polluted well, but Craddick doesn’t care one bit for ordinary people. Her only concern is her beloved fracking industry that has contributed 2.8 million dollars to her election campaigns. Truly, she’s one of the best politicians money can buy. And the frackers love her. It’s much cheaper for them to own their own Railroad Commissioners than to fix their problems.
    https://www.facebook.com/LiveableArlington/videos/1846013632347019/

  2. A Texas rancher, James McAllen Sr. from Hidalgo County, has been awarded $22 million over alleged radioactive contamination of his family home by an oil and gas company.
    http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Valley-rancher-awarded-22-million-in-radiation-11136833.php
    At the same time as the McAllen hearing, the Texas Railroad Commission, which “regulates” oil and gas operations in Texas, referred Forest to its voluntary cleanup program to propose and implement plans to remediate soil and groundwater conditions affected by its operations on the ranch. “Voluntary cleanup” means that the RRC doesn’t tell anyone their land is contaminated by radioactivity, and the oil and gas company doesn’t have to clean up anything.http://www.texaslawyer.com/id=1202785626252/Forest-Oil-v-El-Rucio-Land-140979-TexApp-Dist-04282017?mcode=1202615269686&curindex=3&slreturn=20170412211524

  3. The state legislature siphons off close a billion dollars a year that is collected from insurance carriers doing business in Texas each year. The siphoned funds are the ‘insurance maintenance tax’ levied.

    Those insurance related taxes should be used by the insurance regulator, Texas Department of Insurance.

    The TDI receives about $168 million annually of the maintenance taxes, of which less than $5million funds the insurance fraud unit which is the criminal investigations arm of the agency.

    The TDI Fraud Unit is woefully understaffed for a state the size of Texas. As a result, less than 5% of reports of insurance crime every get opened into an investigation.

    Shame on the Texas politicians that have been using the insurance maintenance taxes to ‘balance the books’.

    Someone must expose this ‘corruption’ and demand answers.

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