I was in attendance yesterday as The Texas Sunset Commission heard public testimony regarding its review of the Texas Railroad Commission. I provided testimony about changing the Commission's misleading name.
I attended the event to help me further assess and address the concerns of Texas voters about a hugely-important agency that regulates our oil and gas industry, and that will be at the top of the 2016 state-wide ballot.
Public distrust of government has been brewing for decades, and The Texas Railroad Commission is the poster child of broken government. The Commission remains a publicly-avowed champion of the oil and gas industry, even as it also regulates the industry it champions. Today's testimony from the oil and gas industry made it crystal clear that the industry wants the Texas Legislature to leave its Railroad Commission alone.
The lack of transparency of the agency should be of concern to Texas voters. There are three elected Commissioners, one of whom is on the Texas ballot every two years. In spite of both its importance to Texas and its prominence on the ballot, fewer than 5% of Texas voters are aware of its regulatory duties. Yet our Legislature continues to resist change, even something so obvious as changing the Commission’s dishonest name to reflect its actual responsibilities.