Gas lobbying raises fears of another blackout crisis

A broader concern is that the legislation [SB 3] would largely avoid changes at the Railroad Commission, which oversees the Texas oil and gas industry.

The commission’s members are elected statewide and get the bulk of their campaign funding from the oil, gas and pipeline companies they oversee, something that’s not allowed in some states. And Craddick herself gets a substantial amount of income from oil and gas property she owns in West Texas, something that’s allowed in Texas but is also prohibited in some places (Energywire, Nov. 1, 2018).

The commission’s critics say the agency rarely enforces rules against oil and gas operators for pollution and other problems. Regulators also took limited actions after a 2011 storm and other previous storms.

“The Legislature really needs to be cautious about how much flexibility it gives the Railroad Commission,” said Virginia Palacios, executive director of Commission Shift, a nonprofit group dedicated to reforming the agency. “What we’ve seen year after year is that these commissioners aren’t interested in showing leadership.

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