Energy & Environment

Environmental Group Wants Loophole Closed For Oil And Gas Pollution

A lawsuit filed in Washington hits home with Houston’s biggest industry.

Natural gas flared at production site in La Salle County


According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the biggest source of air pollution in Texas are oil and gas wells, emitting far more pollution than petrochemical plants or refineries. Yet, federal law exempts those drilling operations from having to report all their chemical releases to a publicly accessible national database called the Toxics Release Inventory.

“That would be very useful to an average citizen in Texas to know that they can go and find out the whole picture,” said Adam Kron, a lawyer with the Environmental Integrity Project.

The group is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to get the agency to change its rules and start making oil and gas operations report pollution to the national database. Afterall, the group argues that industries as small as maple syrup makers and greeting card companies have to do it.

“It doesn’t make sense that those little guys report and we’ve got this big, big industry that doesn’t have to put up this basic information,” Kron told News 88.7.

The oil and gas industry says it should not have to report such data because it says emissions from individual well-sites are so small, they’re below the reporting threshold set by current rules.

The environmental group counters that over 200 well sites in Texas would qualify.


Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

More Information