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Virginia Palacios


Virginia is Executive Director of Commission Shift, a nonpartisan nonprofit building public support to reform oil and gas oversight in Texas. Virginia is a ninth-generation Tejana from Webb County, Texas -one of the highest gas-producing counties in the state, which also has higher-than-average poverty rates and a population that is more than 95% Latino. She has over 15 years’ experience working on environmental issues, including five years as a research analyst at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), where she authored reports and contributed to analyses on methane emissions from oil and gas production in the Barnett Shale region, chemicals in produced water and flowback water, vented and flared gas in Texas, and methane emission leaks from local distribution pipelines in cities. She co-chaired the EDF staff Diversity Committee, and was part of a team that drafted the organization’s first-ever Diversity Strategy. Virginia was State and Local Policy Manager at a regional energy-efficiency organization called SPEER, where she assembled a collaborative group of investor-owned utilities, energy efficiency companies, and environmental groups to discuss ways to advance energy efficiency policy in Texas. Before she started Commission Shift, she worked as a consultant for a variety of groups including Green Latinos, a national environmental advocacy group, and Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC) -Laredo’s local environmental nonprofit. Virginia enjoys birding and kayaking on the Rio Grande, and learning about native plants she finds on her family’s 4th generation ranch in Webb County.