The Stakes in the Race for Texas Railroad Commission
By: Wayne Christian
Texas is blessed to have a robust oil and natural gas industry. In spite of recent economic challenges, the industry paid $13.8 billion in taxes and royalties in fiscal year 2015. That’s the second highest total in Texas history. That money directly funds our schools, roads, first responders, and essential public services. The state’s Rainy Day Fund is funded almost entirely by oil and natural gas.
Hundreds of thousands of Texans are directly employed by the oil and gas industry. Additionally, a strong industry makes us less dependent on hostile foreign countries like Russia and Iran. In short, every Texan directly benefits from oil and natural gas.
The job of the Texas Railroad Commission is to protect our communities and support development in a way that benefits all Texans. We must do this by promoting free market principles and basing our decisions on sound, science based policies that promote continued investment and job creation in our state.
During my time in the Texas House, I served as Vice-Chair of Regulated Industries and as a member of the Energy Resource Committee. I am the only candidate in this race with experience in doing what the railroad commission actually does — create an environment that protects our communities while promoting responsible energy production.
This session, the Railroad Commission will once again be facing the sunset process. Generally speaking, the sunset process is a good thing. It requires the legislature to regularly examine the necessity and efficiency of various state agencies. Agencies typically undergo review once every 12 years, and typically a couple dozen agencies go under review each session.
While the sunset process allows for the legislature to truly examine each agency to update statutes and make positive changes, it also opens that agency up on the floor of both chambers of the legislature for amendments. This means if we are not careful, liberal Democrats could discretely implement changes to our regulatory structure that would be harmful to oil and gas production in Texas.
My legislative experience allows me to easily navigate the sunset process in the 85th Legislature. This, in my opinion, continues to be one of the biggest fights the energy sector faces. For my opponent, there would be a significant learning curve. This is truly an opportunity for us to bridge the gap between the commission and the legislature and come up with policies that will have a positive impact on Texans.
In the race for Railroad Commission, I have been honored to receive the endorsement of the Texas Oil and Gas Association Good Government Committee, Former Railroad Commission Chairmen Victor Carrillo and Michael Williams, and current Senate Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Craig Estes. I have the endorsement of many respected legislators and congressmen, as well as virtually every conservative grassroots and business organization in the state.
As a small business owner, I understand that the energy sector needs our Railroad Commission to provide consistent and predictable regulations and leadership for the industry. If these are qualities you would like to see in your next commissioner, I would be honored to have your support and your vote.
The Runoff Election will take place on Tuesday, May 24th, with Early Voting from May 16-20th. Learn more and find out how you can financially support our campaign at ChristianForTexas.com.