Jim Wright

Jim Wright


  • Wright graduated from Calallen High School in Corpus Christi.1About Jim,” Wright for Texas Railroad Commission. Archived August 20, 2021. Archive URL:


James D. (Jim) Wright was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) in November 2020,2Commissioner Jim Wright,” RRC.Texas.Gov. Archived August 2, 2021. Archive URL: winning what some described as the “most important down-ballot climate race of 2020.”3GOP Climate Denier Prevails In Critical Texas Energy Regulator Race,” HuffPost, November 4, 2020. Archived August 5, 2021. Archive URL: The Railroad Commission, with its three elected members, oversees the oil and gas pipeline industry in Texas.

Wright’s bio at the RRC notes he is “no stranger to the energy industry,” having created a group of environmental service companies dedicated to servicing the energy sector.4Commissioner Jim Wright,” RRC.Texas.Gov. Archived August 2, 2021. Archive URL:

During his campaign, Wright positioned himself as a pro-Trump, pro-business candidate and opposed mandated production cuts. He has stated he is against illegal immigration and for a border wall, while the RRC is not involved in either issue.5Sergio Chapa and Kevin Crowley. “The Race for Texas’s Powerful Energy Regulator Is Heating Up,” Bloomberg, October 31, 2020. Archive URL:

Run for Railroad Commission

In a discussion with the Oil and Gas Startups podcast, Wright went into detail on the story behind his run for the RRC, as highlighted by The New Republic.6Kate Aranoff. “A Republican Oilman Is Running for Texas’s Top Oil-Regulation Seat,” The New Republic, October 30, 2020. Archived August 5, 2021. Archive URL: 7TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION: Who is Jim Wright?Digital Wildcatters. Accessed August 2021. Archived audio and video on file at DeSmog.

“I don’t know if you guys have ever read governmental rules, but there are a lot of interpretation in there. They’re like reading the Bible. So if you give an inexperienced person that rule and ask them to make an interpretation, you’re going to start having delays.

“You know, you’re going to have which essentially impact what our economic growth is, which was what was happening to my customer base. So I actually had some of our customers and a couple other people that said, hey, we’ll volunteer our time if if we can get the Railroad Commission to accept us to come in and help write guidance documents for staff members to kind of follow.

“So we get to a better level playing field and timeliness and making sure that our economy’s moving along and that that is not held up, waiting on decisions by the Railroad Commission because somebody is inexperienced.

“And I actually went up I talked to one of the commissioners and they said, yeah, we think that’s a great idea. We’ll give you access to staff.

“Well, lo and behold, to us, we didn’t meet one staff member that really wanted to work with an outside task force to write guidance documents. They were adamantly against that. So the task force that I formed looked at me since I was a guy that formed it and said, Jim, we you know, we really, really would like to make these changes and would you consider running for Railroad Commission? That was in July of 2019. It was actually December 6th […]

In an interview with The Texan, Wright said industry members had told him “You have been involved with, not only all the energy sector, but really involved with oil and gas — since discovery of the shale — you know how the nuts and bolts work out here. We’d like to have a commissioner that has more experience on that side of things than more on the legislative side and how politics work.” 8Michelle Arledge. “VIDEO: Railroad Commissioner-Elect Jim Wright on His Victory and Coming Job,” The Texan, December 15, 2020. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Archived August 5, 2021. Archive URL:

Talking to The Texan, Wright also mentioned the task force he had developed prior to running for the RRC:

“I formed a task force that was well received by the commissioners or one of the commissioners to where we could allow us to to volunteer our time to help write guidance documents,” Wright said in the interview.

Industry Support & Funding

Wright received support from the oil and gas industry in his run for the RRC, including donations of more than $54,000 from political action committees for energy companies such as Ovintiv Inc., Energy Transfer LP, ConocoPhillips and Pioneer in the summer of 2020. 9Republican Insurgent Wright Wins Texas Oil Regulator Post,” Bloomberg, November 4, 2020. Archived August 5, 2021.

When Wright initially ran in March, he pledged that he would recuse himself from matters involving campaign contributors.

“I have not changed my mind one bit. I received a lot of calls now from people wanting to throw support behind me. I don’t believe in that kind of business,” wright said when pressed by the Austin American-Statesman in March 2020 about whether he’d stay true to his previous statements following his primary victory.

He reiterated this sentiment in May 2020 during an episode of the Big Texas Podcast (timestamp 50:46). Asked whether or not he was committed to his prior pledge moving forward, Wright responded:

“What I said about my campaign contribution is that I will not take campaign money from someone that expects a favor from that money. If you’re giving me money to my campaign, do it for the right reasons, not because you expect something in return. Just because you gave me money. I see that happen all too often. I make that crystal clear to people that say ‘hey, I’d like to contribute to the campaign’.”

However, after hundreds of thousands of dollars came from oil and gas interests, he qualified this pledge and said he would only recuse himself on matters involving contributors who gave money immediately ahead of a commission vote. 10Asher Price. “Oil-and-gas money flows to Railroad Commission nominee who pledged to recuse himself,” Austin American Statesman, July 18, 2020. Archived August 5, 2021. Archive URL:

The American Statesman noted top contributors included: 11Asher Price. “Oil-and-gas money flows to Railroad Commission nominee who pledged to recuse himself,” Austin American Statesman, July 18, 2020. Archived August 5, 2021. Archive URL:

  • $25,000 from oilfield company NGL Waters Solutions Permian.
  • $20,000 from Tim Dunn, CEO of CrownQuest Operating and a funder of the conservative groups Texas Public Policy Foundation and Empower Texans.
  • $10,000 from the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

He also received contributions from Koch PAC, Halliburton PAC, Valero PAC and others.

Political Contributions

According to data from the Texas Ethics Commission, reviewed by DeSmog, between January and December 2020 — as well as contributions in June 2021 — Wright received more than $1 million from individuals and organizations with ties to the oil and gas industries in Texas.

That includes law firms with explicit oil and gas practices, oilfield supply companies, waste treatment facilities with a focus on the oilfield, mineral rights holders, and others standing to benefit financially from issues with the potential to be brought before the Texas Railroad Commission.

View the spreadsheet below for more information (scroll to the right to view totals):

Environmental Fines & Disputes

DeWitt Recyclable Products, a company started by Jim Wright, was the center of a dispute in January 2017 after an inspector found waste material leaking into the ground from storage tanks, found waste stockpiles on the surface, and stormwater ponds without permits.12Asher Price. “GOP candidate for state oil and gas regulatory agency faces fraud accusations,” Caller Times, August 26, 2020. Archived November 4, 2021. Archive URL:

A search of the Texas RRC’s database returns more than 200 violations for the company since 2016. Texas Democrats released a statement that suggested the facility had a total of 255 logged violations. 13“RRC Online Inspection Lookup (RRC OIL) for Operator Number 518321 (DEWITT RECYCLABLE PRODUCTS, LLC) 14Jim Wright’s Long History of Violations Makes Him Unqualified to Be Our Next Railroad Commissioner,” Texas Democrats, August 12, 2020. Archived August 5, 2021.

While Wright had sold the company in 2014, court filings showed him still listed as president, the American-Statesman reported. Wright agreed to clean up the site and pay the Railroad Commission $181,519 for the violations despite his attorney claiming he did not have ownership or operational control of the company after its sale and that he had requested his name be taken off the facility’s records.15Asher Price. “GOP candidate for state oil and gas regulatory agency faces fraud accusations,” Caller Times, August 26, 2020. Archived November 4, 2021. Archive URL:

The Houston Chronicle also detailed how Wright’s waste disposal company was shut down by the RRC. 16Sergio Chapa. “Railroad Commission candidate at center of lawsuit over troubled oil and gas waste disposal site,” Houston Chronicle, August 12, 2020.

Wright then sued the vendors of the material storage tanks, alleging they were responsible for cleaning up the materials. Those companies filed countersuits.

Wright said he had paid $1.5 million in his own funds on cleanup and fines to settle the company’s environmental problems. Working with investors, he created a new company, Eagleford Recycling Services, in hopes of recovering some of the money. 17Mike Lee. “Lawsuits, fines dog candidate for Texas oil regulator,” E&E News, September 15, 2020. Archived September 17, 2020. Archive URL:

Wright had a 12% stake in Eagleford Recycling Services. He is not a board member and has said he “obviously will recuse himself” if an issue with the company comes before the Railroad Commission.

Wright responded to the Caller Times in an email:

“As an oil and gas operator who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, I’m fortunate to own four energy related companies, and have affiliations with others,” he said. “The success of these companies has always been based on integrity and honesty. I ran for this office to serve the people of Texas, and help rebuild the oil and gas industry which should be important to all Texans. Regardless of extreme attacks from leftists who want to put thousands of oilfield workers out of work, we will remain focused on finding ways to create jobs and keep our economy ever improving for Texas.”

Wright’s creditors reportedly included:

  • James McAda – Owner of an oilfield services company who said he was owed more than $200,000
  • Tidal Tank – Has sued Wright over cleanup costs
  • Petro Swift LLC – Have accused Wright for failing to pay for construction work and accused wright of “fraudulent transfers” of the property through different companies to avoid payment amounting to $205,000 in bills and $70,000 in attorney’s fees

Stance on Climate Change

January 4, 2021

Jim Wright said the following during his swearing in ceremony for the Texas RRC: 18“Texas – Railroad Commission Of Texas,” ADMINMonitor, January 4, 2021. Archived .m4v on file at DeSmog.

“It’s no secret today that fossil fuels are being blamed sometimes solely for global climate change. These attacks on resources that keep our energy cost reliable and are truthfully less environmentally impactful than today’s renewable sources at scale, this is a major challenge for us to address in coming future. Our goal is to provide Texans with facts and not fictions. Texas energy resources, including fossil fuels, will continue to provide reliable energy and economic prosperity for generations to come.”

October 17, 2020

Wright commented on WFAA-TV’s Inside Texas Politics that “I’m not sure that we have good facts on what’s causing our climate change”: 19Inside Texas Politics: How environmental protections factor into Texas Railroad Commission race,” YouTube video uploaded by user “WFAA,” October 17, 2020. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“Well I think we stay not only inside what regulation dictates but we’ve gone above and beyond everything we have available in technology today. You know one of the facts that remain on flaring is its emission is CO2. It’s not any type of volatile compound. CO2 is a part of our atmosphere today. CO2 has been here. I’m not sure that there’s enough technology to put blame strictly on what flaring has caused to the atmosphere. I think that if you’ve seen through our history and time, the Earth is going to continue to evolve. And I’m not sure that we have good facts on what’s causing our climate change, but I can tell you the oil and gas industry has done a good job. The problem we have is making sure we have and ensuring that we have markets to put our gas into.”

October 5, 2020

Jim Wright was a guest on the Oil and Gas Startups Podcast where he commented on the environmental effects of flaring: 20TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION: Who is Jim Wright?Digital Wildcatters. Accessed August 2021. Archived audio and video on file at DeSmog.

“Number one, when you talk about flaring, is can you tell me of any exact research that really says that flaring is actually harming our atmosphere any worse than emissions from a car or anything else that they’re claiming is making changes to our climate that we see today?”

“[…] There’s a lot of documents out there, but nobody’s proven to me exactly and pinpoint what is really hurting our atmosphere. And being an environmentalist all my life, you know what I do know about our Earth is we have evolved and we continue to evolve. And I can tell you that summers are going to get hotter whether we had flowering or we had cars because Earth is evolving. And we we we’ve done that. We’ve proven that we’ve evolved. So I’m not sure where the blame lies there.”


“You know, I think that solar, wind, all those are good when technology is there to make sure they’re good. Today, I don’t think the technology truly exists. It was an idea. It caught on and hey, we’re going to save the planet because our our icebergs aren’t going to melt anymore. You haven’t convinced me at all of that. I don’t see the research that proves that. Again, my own theory is I think the Earth continues to evolve just like we have for millions of years, and we’re going to go through different times as time progresses. I’m not saying that that flaring flaring doesn’t have some impact, but does it have the true impact that you see in media today?”

Wright went as far as to say that running the country off of renewable energy would be more damaging to the environment than fossil fuels:

“To to run a country on [solar and wind generation] technology is truly not here today, and if we had to do that, what we would be doing to the environment would be a lot worse than what we’re doing with fossil fuel today,” Wright said.

As E&E News noted, Wright also made claims that solar farms result in ground contamination, and faced fewer regulations than the oil and gas industry: 21Mike Lee. “Texas oil candidate: Beware of solar panel pollution,” E&E News, October 30, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“If they’re dirty, they’re not efficient, so they constantly have to be cleaned,” he said, referring to solar panels. “If you don’t have an environmental regulation, what are you going to use to clean them with? The most harsh detergent that you can that keeps them clean for the longest period.

“So when you don’t see alfalfa or grass growing underneath them, there’s a problem there,” he said. “But they’re not required to go out and test the soil.”

While Wright didn’t provide a source for this claim, Justin Baca, a vice president for the Solar Energy Industries Association told E&E news in an email that solar panels are usually cleaned with water:

“Heavy detergents are not used because they can degrade the polymers used to seal water out of the electrical components,” Baca said.

The Texas Observer noted that while the hosts of the podcast couldn’t identify any studies on flaring’s harm, “myriad studies and reports have established that flaring releases copious amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas hat contributes to climate change, into the atmosphere. What’s more, when flares are unlit or malfunctioning the gas can be released in the form of methane, a greenhouse gas that is up to 84 times more potent.” 22Amal Ahmed. “Texas Has Elected A Climate Change Denier to the Railroad Commission,” Texas Observer, November 10, 2020. Archied August 5, 2021.

Key Quotes

February 26, 2021

Talking with BIC Magazine, Wright claimed issues with the Texas power grid during a winter storm were partially from reliable energy sources: 23Texas Railroad Commissioner Jim Wright talks with BIC Magazine,” YouTube video uploaded by user “BIC Magazine,” February 26, 2021. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“Simply said the real issues that we experienced last week was not the failure of the oil and gas industry, but it is complicated. We have we have a system that is generated by different sources, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and we have natural gas that supplies, our demand for electrical generation, and we also have coal. And the way that we have it set up in priority by mandate is we have to allow those renewable energy sources, wind and solar, at least 20 percent of manufacturing the electrical requirements for the state of Texas.

“Now, whether that comes, you know, at the same time natural gas does and that’s rarely the occurrence because of wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. So what happens to people that use natural gas or coal, as you may know, are very reliable sources and generation of electricity. They have to they have to bring those down to to meet that quota of that 20 percent and the renewable energy sources. So you may have months that that happens quite a bit again, because of wind’s not blowing or the sun’s not shining.

“So it’s not something that people that are in the business of generating electricity can rely on. On how much electricity demand on sale today and how much just going to sell tomorrow. So, as you know, an investor that we would have an interest in putting in a reliable source using coal or natural gas would be discouraged because you can’t really perform what that success would be in the capital required to do that. So what I think when you look at kind of what happened to us last week, that’s that’s one of the reasons that that occurred.”


“I think we need to lean on legislature a little bit to get to the bottom of exactly what occurred. And I think the answer to that’s going to be that we need to look at how we allow renewable, that access, onto the grid and maybe not not allow that to happen.”


“They also need to put attention on how can we encourage reliable energy use in our electrical generation if we’re going to stop this? The bottom line, I think, for everyone in Texas to realize is that all of those options are probably going to equate to higher consumer cost for us when it comes to electricity. […] So you ask what industry can do? I think we need to get out and advocate or advocate for our legislatures to really take a hard look at how we’ve structured, who gets priority system and how do we encourage that we get to an aging grid system upgrade and how do we encourage people to come in and generate more electricity, which would be good for our industry, because I think natural gas is the most reliable, abundant source that we have today for that generation.”

February 16, 2021

Speaking with Bloomberg on the recent winter storm in Texas, he commented: 24Surveillance: Energy Crisis in Texas,” Bloomberg Surveillance (Podcast), February 17, 2021. Original broadcast February 16, 2021.

[3:20:45] “You know, I think that we’re going to have to take a stronger look at who’s allowed priority on our grid system. Right now, we’re saying that renewable energy has that priority, which is discouraging our reliable energy source which seems to be more natural gas, fossil fuel related, from coming in and building the plants needed to pick up this power demand in times like these.”

December 15, 2020

Wright said the following in an interview with Brad Johnson on The Texan‘s “Voices of Texas” podcast. 25Michelle Arledge. “VIDEO: Railroad Commissioner-Elect Jim Wright on His Victory and Coming Job,” The Texan, December 15, 2020. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Archived August 5, 2021. Archive URL:

“But as far as its impact on our atmosphere, CO2 is something that is our atmosphere. You know, in CO2 has evolved as the world has evolved. You know, from the history that I read, you know the dinosaur ages, and you see the vegetation that that I’ve read about in history.

“CO2 promotes vegetation growth. It’s just it’s part of what we experience. It’s part of being on the Earth. So, you know, I think that there needs to be a lot more study and a lot more research on what is really causing the fluctuation of CO2 increase. I do know that man has contributed to that, but at what detriment? You know, which has not been proven to me.”

Key Actions

January 6, 2021

One of Wright’s early hires for staff at the Railroad Commission was Kate Zaykowski for Director of Public Affairs. 26Jim Wright Staff Appointments,” Railroad Commission of Texas. January 6, 2021. Archived July 8, 2021. Archive URL:

Prior to her position at the RRC, Zaykowski was Director of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications at Parsley Energy, a key company in the Texas energy sector with a focus on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the Permian Basin. According to her LinkedIn, Wright also worked for the Texas Oil and Gas Association as recently as 2018, and was a senior account manager at DCI Group, a Republican PR and lobbying firm with ties to climate change denial groups (Tech Central Station) and a history of working with the tobacco industry as well as Koch-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks.27SUCCESS STORY: PARSLEY ENERGY,” Texas Economic Development. Archived April 11, 2021.


Wright has said he’s run 14 different companies.28TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION: Who is Jim Wright?Digital Wildcatters. Accessed August 2021. Archived audio and video on file at DeSmog.

Wright holds are has had affiliations with the following companies, according to his public disclosures29Texas Railroad Commission Financial Statements/disclosures via Documented and to data from Corporation Wiki/Texas Secretary of State30Jim Wright,” CorporationWiki.

  • Clean Management of Corpus Christi, LLC — Manager
  • Clean Management, Inc. — Director
  • Cuero Land Management, LLC — Managing Member, Director
  • Cuero Recycling Services, LLC — Director, Member
  • Eagleford Recycling Services, LLC — Managing Member
  • EEES Energy Solutions, LLC — Director
  • Environmental Evolutions Holdings, Inc. — President
  • Environmental Evolutions Oil Field Services, Inc. — Director, Officer
  • Environmental Evolutions, Inc. — Director
  • JW Rentals Inc. DBA Environmental Evolutions National (Inactive) — President/CEO
  • GRE Engineering & Geology Services, LLC — Director
  • GreEnergy Companies, LLC (Inactive) — CEO, Director
  • GreEnergy Companies Management, LLC — Manager
    • GreEnergy Bio Remediation, LLC — Director
    • GreEnergy Equipment, LLC — Partner
    • GreEnergy Field Services, LLC — Director
    • GreEnergy Rentals, LLC — Director
  • South Texas Repair Center, LLC — Member
  • Absolute Industries, LLC (Inactive) — President
  • Clean Management of The Valley, LLC (Inactive) — Manager
  • Dewitt Recyclable Products, LLC (Inactive) — Owner
  • Environmental Evolutions Holdings, Ltd. (Inactive) — Owner
  • Exergy Reclamation, LLC (Inactive) — Manager
  • JW Venture, LLC (Inactive) — President
  • Sixteen Services, Inc. (Inactive) — President
  • Environmental Evolutions Transportation, Inc. (Inactive) — Owner
  • Environmental Tank Solutions (Inactive) — Member

Other Companies

CorporationWiki also lists when where companies are listed as Officers in other companies, or vice versa. Below is a hierarchical representation of some of those relationships:

  • DHE Energy, LLC is listed as a director of:
    • EES Energy Solutions
  • Frontier Frac Tanks LLC is listed as director of:
    • Environmental Tank Solutions, LLC
  • Greenergy Companies Management, LLC is listed as director of:
    • Cuero Recycling Services, LLC
    • Gre Engineering & Geology Services, LLC
    • GreEnergy Bio Remediation, LLC
    • GreEnergy Companies, LLC
    • Greenergy Equipment, LLC
    • GreEnergy Facilities, LLC
    • GreEnergy Field Services, LLC
    • GreEnergy Mobile Permit, LLC
    • GreEnergy Rentals, LLC
  • JW Rentals, Inc. is listed as director of:
    • Environmental Tank Solutions, LLC
  • JW Venture, LLC is listed as director of:
    • Environmental Evolutions Holdings, Ltd.
    • Environmental Evolutions of The Valley, Ltd.
    • Environmental Evolutions, Ltd.
  • Knopp Holdings, LLC is listed as director of:
    • Environmental Evolutions, Ltd.
    • Environmental Tank Solutions, LLC
    • Mixco Rentals, LLC
    • Mystic Ventures, Ltd.
  • Optio Ventures, LLC is listed as director of:
    • Cuero Recycling Services, LLC
    • GreEnergy Bio Remediation, LLC
    • GreEnergy Companies, LLC
    • GreEnergy Field Services, LLC
    • GreEnergy Rentals, LLC

A November 2021 report by Commission Shift has additional information on companies Wright is invested in.31“Captive Agency: Part III: Business owners whose companies answer to the Railroad Commission can serve on the commission” (PDF), Commission Shift, November 2021. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Early Career Affiliations

James D. Wright’s resume appears on page 50 of a proposal submitted to the EPA in the early 1990s for the cleanup of compressor station. It lists the following in his employment history:32WASTE PROCESSOR INDUSTRIES, INC. SITE WORK PUN FOR CLEANUP OF PCB-OONTAMINATED MATERIALS XT NATURAL GAS PIPELINE COMPANY OF AMERICA’S COMPRESSOR STATION 198, MARION COUNTY, ICWA,” retrieved from Submitted July 24, 1991. Wright’s resume is included on page 50.

  • Waste Processor Industries, Inc. — District manager (1989).
  • US Ecology, Inc. — Equipment operator (1986 – 1989).
  • South Texas Contractors Supply, Inc. — Sales Rep (1986)
  • K.F. Hunt Contractors, Inc. — Equipment operator (1985)
  • Wright Central Caliche Company, Inc. — 25% Stock Owner, acting manager on-site.

Social Media


Other Resources


Related Profiles

Jim Murphy Credentials Bachelor's degree in Economics, Harvard University (1978)“Jim Murphy,” LinkedIn. Accessed March 31, 2018, and June 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. ...
Aurea Foundation Background The Aurea Foundation was established by Melanie and the late Peter Munk (1927–2018) in 2006 "to undertake initiatives and support qualified institutions and affil...
Jim Lakely Credentials B.A., English Writing, University of Pittsburgh (1988 – 1992). “Jim Lakely,” LinkedIn. Accessed November 29, 2017. Background Jim Lakely is the director of co...
The Heartland Institute Background Stance on Climate Change Funding Key People Actions Heartland International Conference on Climate Change Related&n...