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.