Subcommittee Hearing: Oil and Gas Development: Impacts of Water Pollution Above and Below Ground

Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Date: Thursday, May 16, 2019 Time: 10:00 AM Location: Longworth House Office Building 1324 Presiding: The Hon. Alan Lowenthal

Witness List

Mr. Dominic DiGiulio, Ph.D. (testimony)                        

Senior Research Scientist                                             

PSE Healthy Energy                                                     

Mr. Daryl Peterson (testimony

Farmer and Landowner

Antler, North Dakota

Ms. Emily A. Collins (testimony)                                                

Executive Director & Managing Attorney

Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mr. John James Tintera, P.G. 325 (testimony)

President, Texas Alliance of Energy Producers

Austin, TX

Click Here to watch the testimony.


Congress, Look at Texas for the Facts on Fracking

By John Tintera
May 17, 2019

On Thursday, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a hearing to investigate whether oil and gas drilling causes water pollution. It's a very important topic. If drilling pollutes our drinking water, new restrictions would obviously be needed to safeguard public health.

Fortunately, every available piece of scientific evidence shows that drilling -- particularly the technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking -- is safe. As a geologist who has spent decades regulating the energy industry, I've seen firsthand the extensive precautions companies take to avoid any accidents and protect our water sources. Current safety regulations are already working. There's no need to impede energy production by binding companies with additional red tape from the federal government.

Just look at my home state of Texas. It's by far America's biggest energy producer,  and home to the 75,000-square-mile Permian Basin, the world's most productive oil field. The Permian and other Texas oil fields use tons of water responsibly whether for hydraulic fracturing, processing, or refining.  

How responsible are Texas drillers when it comes to water management? Well, there hasn't been a single documented case of groundwater contamination associated with fracking.  

This drilling technique has led to an unprecedented oil and gas revolution. In just the first quarter of 2019, Texas, for the first time ever, produced more than 5 million barrels of crude oil every day. The state accounts for an astounding 40 percent of all crude production in the United States. 

The cooperation between industry and Texas state regulators is chiefly responsible for this spotless safety record.

Texas state law is as crystal clear as its water. Texas outlaws any pollution of any and all bodies of water -- whether above or below ground -- period. The law defines pollution as any change at all to water that would make it harm humans, animals, plants, property, or public health in general. 

There are numerous key laws -- 13 total -- that serve as a regulatory framework to enforce the no-pollution rule. They outline rules for everything from how to drill to how to clean up a spill.  They address almost every water protection concern that could arise from oil and gas production. 

Take fracking, a process which requires immense amounts of water. There are rules to govern how practitioners drill, what cement and casings they use, and how they control their wells.  Additionally, they are required to continually monitor pressure levels beneath the surface and report malfunctions to inspectors. 

Or consider waste disposal. The Texas regulations protect surface and subsurface water from liquid and solid oil field waste. Injection wells, the shafts that carry fluids down to porous underground rock formations, are highly regulated by the EPA and encased in multiple layers of cement to protect drinking water. The EPA audits each injection well annually. 

Regulators wouldn't be able to enforce these rules without a small army of state inspectors. There are hundreds of them in Texas that rove the oil fields to make sure everything is up to snuff.  These "outriders" have access to all the online data they need to ensure proper inspection. 

Companies are not only complying with the regulations; they are constantly finding new ways to protect water. Operators in the Permian Basin are using new technologies like "clean brine" to make produced water clean enough to reuse.  They are also building pipelines to wastewater treatment or recycling facilities and reusing produced water. The reused water is not only used for more drilling, but can be used for community improvement like de-icing roads during winter. 

Some companies are finding novel ways to reuse and conserve water. In 2016, one Texas-based energy company opened a 20-mile pipeline to receive treated municipal wastewater from Odessa, Texas that can be used in all its operations. Reusing municipal wastewater reduced the company's reliance on freshwater needed in Odessa for drinking, and compensates Odessa for once-useless waste. 

Thanks to sensible regulations, regular inspections, and industry efforts, Texas energy companies have little impact on the state's water supply. A study by the state found that fracking accounts for less than 1 percent of total water use in the state, far less than agriculture. 

Texans know what they're doing when it comes to safeguarding their drinking water. There's no need for Washington to impose additional, needless regulations when the current ones are already working perfectly.


John Tintera is a regulatory expert and licensed geologist with a thorough knowledge of upstream oil and gas exploration. He spent over 20 years working for the main energy regulator in Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission, and ultimately served as its executive director. He is currently the president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.



Texas Fuels The World:
An Open Letter to All American Energy Consumers


January 14, 2019  For Immediate Release
Austin, Texas - from the Headquarters of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers

Oil and gas exports from Texas’ hydrocarbon reservoirs are a rock-solid guarantee that America’s light switches work, computers hum, and our paychecks are more secure. Texas hydrocarbon energy fuels the world, making our lives safer and more prosperous. Our hydrocarbon energy and technology can – and will – help today and tomorrow the one billion people worldwide that live in energy poverty.

The benefits are obvious.

Texas hydrocarbons, including our plentiful natural gas, have allowed the U.S. to lower key emissions. Natural gas is cleaner burning, readily available, fully regulated, and exists within America’s borders.

The national debate over energy does create an important opportunity. It allows for a much needed conversation about comprehensive energy regulatory reform. Let’s identify and eliminate duplicate and unnecessarily burdensome regulatory requirements that cost more than they save. It is important to stop damaging federal regulatory overreach when it occurs, and look for potential delegation of federal authority to our States. All Americans should read Texas Senate Concurrent Resolution 26 from the 85th Legislative Session, which was voted into law and signed by our Texas leaders.  Its important message was a call to “transcend partisan politics and correct misuses of federal regulatory power that have threatened the Texas oil and gas industry, the jobs it creates, and the economy of the state.” 

Hydrocarbons will continue to remain a vital part of all domestic and worldwide energy solutions. America must reject any political trend, deal, or social philosophy that threatens national security which is built on our energy independence. The federal government must never lose touch with the reality of jobs and the role of abundant and inexpensive energy for our communities and the world. That energy comes from hydrocarbons.
We call on our elected officials to use Texas bountiful energy wisely to solve problems and save lives today, and not focus on unrealistic and politicized promises that mislead the American people and create nothing but new problems for tomorrow. In Texas, we know that hydrocarbon energy creates prosperity that lifts the quality of life for all our citizens. If deemed necessary, this prosperity can harden vital infrastructure like roads or ports, build pipelines that can transport not just oil and gas but water to areas suffering from drought, build recycling facilities, and ensure that we use our God-given resources for the betterment of all mankind.

The best has yet to come for our beloved America and the entire world as it looks to the future, fueled by Texas hydrocarbons.


For additional information, please contact Alliance President John Tintera, 512-680-3055, [email protected],

or Alliance Senior Vice President Jo Ann Baker, 940-723-4131, [email protected]


 Hello all new and returning members,

My name is Jamie Weber and I am very excited to join the Alliance as the new Student and Young Professional Coordinator to help grow the next generation of energy professionals.
I know firsthand how important my networking and internships in college were for me to get a job and I would love to be a resource for you to help you find those opportunities through the Alliance.
Joining the Alliance is free (our corporate sponsor is Basic Energy Services) and can give you several opportunities to interact with the 2600 members of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and network. As I step into my new role with the Texas Alliance, I encourage you to reach out to me so that we can discuss any questions or concerns you may have moving forward.

Benefits of becoming a student member of the Texas Alliance
● As student members of the Alliance, you will stay informed on legislative briefings of state and federal issues and their impact on the industry.
● You will receive our email periodicals and publications at no charge.
● It will provide you with the opportunity to network and attend TAEP events and seminars.
● You will have the opportunity to potentially gain scholarships, internships, and mentorships with our highly skilled members.
● Joining as a student is free and your free membership will extend one full year after you graduate.

The Texas Alliance of Energy producers currently has the largest student membership program of any statewide trade association with almost 300 student members in 30 schools across the country.
We are looking to increase this number even more because 40-60% of the current workforce will retire in the next 5-10 years, and as young professionals, the Alliance would love to help you maximize the opportunities becoming available due to this workforce shift.
Texas Alliance student memberships are developed by students with students in mind and are always free. We are very excited about our growing student program and are working hard to create a valuable experience for our students and members.
If you are interested in learning more about internship or mentorship opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have at [email protected].


Oil Field Steel Import Quotas Are The Wrong Solution

By John Tintera, President, Texas Alliance of Energy Producers

Negotiators with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) may be preparing to recommend import quotas on the specialized steel that comes from Mexico and Canada.

This is a bad idea rife with unintended consequences. 

Steel is critical to oil and gas production. Without readily available steel the Texas economic miracle could quickly grind to a halt. That will eventually mean less production, less national energy security, less taxes, and fewer jobs.

Oil and Gas producers are already struggling to maintain operations as they deal with the 25% tariff on imported steel. Additional financial burdens imposed by trade negotiations will hamstring the industry even more. These burdens must be avoided. 

The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers supports the Administration’s focus on national energy security. However, we cannot endorse policies that will likely threaten Texas  prosperity.  

This is not a just a major or integrated oil company  issue. This is an oil field issue that will eventually impact every Texas producer of any size,  every service company,  every tax collector, local, state, or federal,  and every oil field worker in Texas. 

Our oil field communities are where our truck drivers, welders, rig hands, and many other oil field workers live.  Their employment depends on a healthy domestic oil and gas industry with unfettered access to the specialized steel the Texas oil industry requires.

It would be reckless to  threaten the dramatic oil field success story in response to the economic challenges steel faces after years of feckless government inaction. Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Please do not impose tariffs on oil field steel imports.

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