An Interview with the Texas Sledgehammer
by John Griffing on May 28, 2012 at 9:00 PM
The Texas energy sector is facing a multi-pronged attack from the Obama Administration and the EPA. Moratoriums and “ground water” mythology threaten to kill the vitality of the Texas oil and gas industry, at a crucial moment of innovation that could mean virtual energy independence for America. Expert leadership is required to resist efforts that threaten to undermine prosperity, stifle job creation, and keep Americans dependent on foreign oil.
Many want to see Texas oil and natural gas companies uninhibited and free to increase domestic production and find new ways to ween Americans off foreign oil and create jobs. Roland Sledge, candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission, has the necessary experience to achieve this objective. With 35 years in the oil and gas industry, Sledge’s background more than qualifies him to lead the Texas energy sector at this make-or-break moment.
Sledge, aka the “Texas Sledge-hammer”, says he knows what needs to be done to unleash Texas energy potential. Too often he’s seen it done wrong, or poorly. The Obama EPA is wasting no time trying to bankrupt Texas energy, with one regulation aiming to reduce Texas GDP by $1 trillion. And the Texas Railroad Commission, the only state-level regulatory agency with co-jurisdiction in the domain of energy, and the only agency that can on legal grounds challenge the EPA and its greenshirts, requires the type of knowledge and expertise Sledge is bringing to the table.
Mr. Sledge granted me an interview, in which he responded to some direct questions about his plans for Texas, and his strategy for protecting Texas energy from the Obama-EPA onslaught.
Questions are listed below, followed by Sledge's answers:
Why did you decide to run for the Railroad Commission?
The EPA under the Obama Administration has become a threat to America’s energy security – this past summer the EPA commenced a “study” that I believe will result in unnecessary regulations of hydraulic fracturing which will bring the state’s shale plays to a grinding halt killing thousands of jobs in Texas’ booming oil and gas industry and delaying millions of dollars to the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The Railroad Commission is fighting Washington’s overreaches, but now more than ever, Texas demands a Commissioner with extensive and proven oil and gas industry experience. I believe that my 35 years of oil and gas industry experience would be invaluable in the fight to preserve the Railroad Commission’s authority to regulate Texas’ the oil and gas industry; authority granted to it by the elected legislators of the citizens of this state.
If elected, what's your first priority after in office?
There are several top priority issues once elected. I’ll use 35 years of energy industry experience to fight Washington from over-regulating Texas’ oil and gas industry. I’ll push back on EPA overregulation and continual reviews of fracing and horizontal drilling which provides thousands of jobs and US energy independence, and initiate process by which fracing procedure can be enhanced. I’ll review pipeline safety monitoring procedure and ramp it up if necessary. I’ll also work to address unplugged or improperly plugged “orphan” wells which in my opinion represent the biggest threat to the state's environmental quality.
From your experience in the industry, what changes do you see on the horizon, both positive and negative, that could potentially affect the energy sector?
I believe that the expansion of hydraulic fracing and horizontal drilling is a geopolitical game changer that will positively impact Texas’ oil and gas industry. The development of shale gas through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracing has revolutionized the recovery of natural gas for shale formations. Twelve years ago, shale gas represented only 1% of US natural gas reserves, but by the end of this decade, it will be in excess of 50% of our nation’s natural gas reserves. With the advent of shale gas development, it is the U.S. now the largest producer of natural gas in the world. When implemented utilizing industry best practices, fracing is a safe process that poses no risk of polluting either our precious groundwater or land. Supporting new technologies, like fracing and horizontal drilling, will further our efforts to achieve American energy independence from foreign oil.
What do you think are the most important questions for you and your opponents to address during this campaign?
The question would be, “What experience in your background most qualifies you to regulate one of our most complex and important industries, oil and gas?”
What challenges do you see that may create obstacles to achieving your policy proposals once in office, e.g. EPA.
In addition to enhancing the Commission’s relationship with the legislature, and increasing agency transparency and efficiency; perhaps the largest and most important obstacle to tackle is asserting the Railroad Commission’s authority to regulate Texas energy industry by pushing back against the Obama administration and the EPA. Obama’s EPA supports questions safe technologies and is hindering job creation and economic stimulus in Texas. I will continue to assert and support General Abbott’s lawsuit against the EPA.
You've already been serving your state and the industry in various capacities. What do you think you can do with this office, that you could not do previously?
Through public office I can use my 35 years of energy experience to influence energy policies that will benefit and protect Texans and the Texas economy. The Railroad Commission needs a commissioner who will utilize his working knowledge of the industry to be a commonsense regulator who balances the need to grow our economy while protecting the citizens and consumers of Texas.
Roland Sledge is imminently qualified for the position he seeks, and offers expertise and a strategy that would be good for the energy industry, good for America, and good for Texas.
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