Wednesday, February 01, 2012

We Were There (**Updated with the MIPA Hearing Video**)

Railroad Commission of Texas  
Monday morning. January 30, 2012. Austin, Texas. 
9:00 AM
William B. Travis Building in Austin, Texas.

We met Commissioner Smitherman, Examiner Doherty and didn't realize Commissioner Porter was in the auditorium. But after all the speakers completed their "informal" comments, Examiner Doherty (presiding from the dais) asked if anyone else wanted to speak. 

Commissioner Porter then rose up, said something we couldn't hear and slowly made his way to the microphone. That must be what made this a an "Informal "Hearing"  for "Informal Comments" (**See the Hearing Notice below**) because up to that point, there was truly nothing "Informal" about any of it. 

Railroad Commission Chair, Elizabeth Ames Jones, was not present. We recently learned that she is running for a State Senate seat from San Antonio, TX.   We know that must take a lot of her time.  But we're not sure why, since we thought she should be a shoe-in. Maybe she should speak to Rick Perry about those shoes. 

After the close of the hearing, both Commissioners Porter and Smitherman introduced themselves to our groups and were very cordial.  During the hearing, they were very attentive to our comments about the Mineral Interest Pooling Act (MIPA), too. You could have heard a pin drop. We brought our own perspectives and research on all of it.  And we had a lot to share. 

Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie and Wise County were all represented by a speaker or two. Representative Lon Burnam (Fort Worth) presented over 400 petitions from citizens of the Barnett Shale who have concerns about changes to MIPA and how rule making needs to protect "citizens" who don't choose to enter into a business relationship with shale gas operators.

Interesting that the room was certainly filled with many people taking notes ~ but not speaking. We suppose these were the industry people.   But we can't be sure about that.  We just wish they would have all said something instead of leaving it up to the numerous membership organizations speaking on their behalf. That would have meant we could have spent another full day in Austin. And then we could have met more of the nice people at the Railroad Commission who have been so helpful during our Rule 37 discussions over the past year. 

We so wanted to visit the mail room where one of our recent Fed Ex packages was left unopened for a full day!  We were told that the mailman was laid off.  But sadly, we needed to get back to the Barnett Shale so there was no time to make that particular visit. Maybe next time.

Overall, we really enjoyed our time at the William B. Travis Building. It was nice to finally have the opportunity to speak to the commissioners who have been making all the decisions about the property takings in the Barnett Shale. And be in the halls of the very building where so many Rule 37 Spacing Exception Hearings have been heard.

We look forward to more visits to the Railroad Commission of Texas in the near future.  That is, unless they take up the offer and decide to visit us in our Barnett Shale.  We would be truly honored by that.  Then they could meet so many more Citizens of the Shale who also have a lot to share with them


In case you missed it, here's the link to the January 30, 2012 Hearing Notice:


Here's the link to get to the Video of the January 30, 2012 Hearing (Featuring many citizens of the Barnett Shale). You'll need RealPlayer:


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