Texas Energy Committee



James Keffer- Chair (Dist. 60- Eastland) 512.463.0582 james.keffer@house.state.tx.us
Myra Crownover - Vice Chair (Dist. 64- Denton) 512.463.0582 myra.crownover@house.state.tx.us
Stephanie Carter - (Dist. 102- Dallas) 512.463.0454 stefani.carter@house.state.tx.us 
Tom Craddick (Dist. 82 - Midland) 512.463.0500 tom.craddick@house.state.tx.us
John Davis (Dist. 129- Houston) 512.463.0734 john.davis@house.state.tx.us
Charles Howard (Dist. 26 - Sugar Land) 512.463.0710 charlie.howard@house.state.tx.us
Jose Manuel “JM” Lozano (Dist. 43 - Harlingen) 512.463.0463 jm.lozano@house.state.tx.us
Ralph Sheffield (Dist. 55 - Temple) 512.463.0630 ralph.sheffield@house.state.tx.us 
Mark Strama (Dist. 50- Austin) 512.463.0821 mark.strama@house.state.tx.us

Points (please rephrase in your own words:)

  • Full Disclosure of Tar Sand Composition - Companies should be required to disclose the composition of tar sands or dilbit crude since it is now deemed “proprietary” (not fully disclosed). The legislature voted in the last session to require that fracking fluid’s composition be disclosed, we need to do the same for tar sands.
  • Filing Emergency Plan before Operations - Any pipeline company doing business in the state of Texas should be requred to submit an emergency response plan before it starts operations, not after, so the state/ municipalites can ensure the plan is adequate.
  • Consider Reclassifying Tar Sands - Due to the dilutent, higher toxic chemicals and heavy metal content, a consideration to reclassify tar sands as hazardous waste needs to be evaluated.
  • Consider a Special Liability Bond for Tar Sands Crude - If companies want to transport hazardous tar sands crude through Texas, these entities should contribute substantially to an oil spill fund or a special liability bond should be established. TransCanada has now had 14 spills with it’s new Keystone I pipeline, and Enbridge has now had the most expensive tar sands spill in US history, costing more than $720 million. Enbridge’s own insurance company stated, when the spill was at $585 million, that it may not cover all the company’s costs.
  • Push for New Standards on New Tar Sands Pipelines - Due to the higher rate of tar sands incidents and the fact that these pipelines now utilize only conventional crude standards when built, new standards requiring thicker pipe, better coating, and other considerations should be put in place to ensure pipeline integrity.
  • There is also a high incident rate with pumping stations associated with these operations. A closer look at pumping station standards should also be evaluated.
  • Repurposed Pipelines Need to be Adequately Reassessed before Allowing Tar Sands Flow - Enbridge’s Seaway is a 36-year old pipeline repurposed for tar sands. These aging pipelines were not designed for pressures up to 1440 psi, running up to 158 degrees, with such abrasive, toxic material. As most older lines were designed for lower psi rates, a thorough line inspection needs to be done before a line is allowed

Sample Emails

"Right now our Texas regulations do not even make the pipeline operators say what they have in the pipelines. The state distinguishes between natural gas and liquified natural gas for regulatory purposes. Can't we make a regulatory distinction between oil that flows and oil that is so nearly solid it must be diluted and highly pressurized in order to move? And can't we require that our emergency responders be fully informed about what is in the pipelines? It does no one any good to pretend that it is plain old "crude oil." "
"Please slow down the Canadian companies that are racing to build pipelines in Texas for their tar sand oil. There were three big spills in Alberta just in the last four weeks, estimated to cost more than a billion dollars to clean up. I am afraid we will end up with similar spills in our much more densely populated state, and the cost in lives harmed, water resources destroyed, and jobs lost will be far greater. What they are piping is not like Texas crude oil, and they will not pay Texas enough in taxes or in jobs to make up for the expense of one big spill. We can allow them to ship their oil once they prove they will do it without so many leaks. "
"The pipeline industry can eventually transport tar sand crude oil safely, I am sure. Meanwhile, let's curb their enthusiasm enough to come up with a reasonable set of best practices to assure Texas that we will not be left holding a billion-dollar cleanup expenses bag for another huge disaster like the one in Michigan or the other one on that same pipeline in Illinois in 2010, or the three big spills in Alberta in May and June, 2012, or any of the other dozens of spills of tar sand crude oil."
"Our emergency responders need to know what they will be dealing with in the pipelines that are allowed to carry diluted bitumen. They need to know what the chemicals that were mixed with the tar are, in case those chemicals get into water supplies or people breathe them. The Seaway Pipeline and its planned twin loop cross a number of water supplies and aquifers and pass very close to schools, hospitals and homes. Please require that the pipeline companies make information available about exactly what they transport."