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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

158 Inspectors

Gaye McElwain,  spokesperson for the Railroad Commission of Texas, told us last Saturday that the State of Texas has a total of 158 oil and gas well inspectors.  Her statement is on the video from Saturday's Gas Drilling Educational Forum.  (Scroll ahead to approximately 2:25:35.)  She did not tell us how many oil and gas wells there are, so we looked it up ourselves.  

The Railroad Commission's records show that  the State ofTexas has 133,856 gas wells and 291,996 oil wells as of February 2015.  Click Here to view the full report of oil and gas wells in Texas. 

Now that we know how many wells there are in Texas, we can assess whether or not we have enough regulatory oversight to protect our communities.  

133,856 + 291,996 = 425,852 (total oil & gas wells.)  
Divide 425,852 by 158 (number of inspectors) = 2,695 wells per inspector  
Now if each inspector worked 240 days/year assuming a five/day work week including holidays and vacation, he/she would have to inspect 11.23 wells per day to ensure that each well gets inspected once per year. 

One part of the Mission Statement of the Railroad Commission of Texas, our regulatory body over Oil and Gas, states their concern over personal and community safety.  These figures reveal that their mission falls woefully short.  We clearly need more inspectors and oversight.  Our regulatory agencies need to do in the field what they say they do on paper.  Amen.



  1. They fail on the stewardship part cause they don't even measure Methane on the TCEQ suma canisters...can't find what you don't look for-don't wanna know how much Methane we waste.

  2. Factor in all the injection wells and the 158 inspectors have an even more unattainable task of inspecting every well just one time per year. In reality, every well should be inspected at least once per month, and in areas where problems with wells have occurred inspections much more frequently than monthly should be mandated by law or regulation.

    RRC claims that it lacks the funding to hire more inspectors, but the truth is that both the legislature and the RRC prefer having an inadequate number of inspectors because having sufficient inspectors would mean finding more problems within the oil and gas industry that would require enforcement actions against those who pay for RRC elections and who directly benefit from RRC's contrived incompetence.

  3. Gaye McElwain did not even pretend to give direct answers to questions posed by the concerned citizens in the audience, who were not allowed to directly ask questions, but who had to write their questions on a card and submit them for a moderator to read. There was no ability for citizens to demand a direct answer because the moderator disregarded our calls for answers when the "answers" given did not even address the questions asked. Gaye McElwain seemed to go out of her way to provide false and evasive answers in an attempt to protect the RRC and the oil and gas companies who own it.

    As was properly labeled days in advance, this forum was a "dog and pony show" in which the pony did not even show up. If anybody ever wants to know why people are so disrespectful to and distrusting of our government, then this event was the shining example of government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations at the expense of taxpaying citizens who suffer whenever corporate-owned government places the profits of corporations above the health and safety of citizens.