Tribpedia: Texas Railroad Commission

The Texas Railroad Commission (TRC) is a state agency with regulatory jurisdiction over the oil and gas industry, pipeline transporters, the natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline industry, natural gas utilities, the LP-gas industry, and coal and uranium surface mining operations.

Railroad Commissioners are elected to six-year terms with one Commissioner seeking election every two years.

The Railroad Commission's ...

Barry Smitherman Lands Job at Law Firm

Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.
Chairman Barry Smitherman of the Railroad Commission of Texas in his office, May 31, 2013.

Barry Smitherman, the only person to serve both on the Texas Railroad Commission and the state’s Public Utility Commission, will practice energy law at Vinson and Elkins, the international law firm announced Tuesday.

Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.
Pipes used for fracking are shown in front of a Fasken OIl and Ranch drilling rig outside of Midland on Oct. 8, 2013.

Texas Bearing Brunt of Drop in Oil Drilling

After a drop in drilling permits and months of plummeting oil prices, nightmares about idled drilling rigs are becoming reality, and Texas oilfields are the hardest hit. Here's the data illustrating how much rig counts are falling, and how Texas oilfields are faring.  

Rule on Natural Gas Rate Hikes is Fuel for Debate

The Texas Railroad Commission recently endorsed changes to how cities can challenge natural gas utility rate increases. Commissioners say the new rule should help cut expenses for ratepayers. But some critics say the rule actually puts cities at a disadvantage. Some state lawmakers are already talking about potential legislation to block the rule.

Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.
Lynda Stokes, the mayor of Reno, Texas, testified before the Railroad Commission of Texas on Jan. 21, 2014. She voiced her concern about an increased number of earthquakes around Eagle Mountain Lake.

Amid New Earthquakes, Researchers Head to Irving

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UPDATED: Irving has experienced scores of small earthquakes in recent months, and seismologists are headed to town to help figure out what’s behind the shaking.

 

 

 

 

Some rural Texans, including Jon Salis, have been getting untreated natural gas that can freeze up and, in rare cases, pollute homes. Salis poses at the gas line near his Lake Palo Pinto property.
Some rural Texans, including Jon Salis, have been getting untreated natural gas that can freeze up and, in rare cases, pollute homes. Salis poses at the gas line near his Lake Palo Pinto property.

Raw Gas Fuels Worry for Rural Homeowner

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Thousands of rural Texas homes get their natural gas from "farm taps," hooking up to nearby pipelines that carry raw gas on its way from wells to processing plants. One homeowner shut down his furnace when he learned of the risks.

Ryan Sitton, the incoming Texas Railroad Commissioner, speaks at a Texas Tribune event on Oct. 30, 2014.
Ryan Sitton, the incoming Texas Railroad Commissioner, speaks at a Texas Tribune event on Oct. 30, 2014.

Sitton Leaving Consulting Firm to Avoid Conflicts

Ryan Sitton, the incoming Texas railroad commissioner, says he is following through on a campaign promise to step away from his oil and gas consulting firm and place its assets in a blind trust – an effort aimed at reducing the appearance of a conflict of interest.

 

Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.
Steve Lipsky shows the methane contamination of his well by igniting the gas with a lighter outside his family's home in Parker County near Weatherford on June 17.

Regulators Pan Study on Methane Gas in Wells

No one disputes that high levels of methane have shown up in several Parker County water wells. But the source of the gas has stirred a heated debate. The Railroad Commission says a new academic study pointing to drilling isn't enough for it to reopen the case.

A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.
A gas well last fracked in March sits less than 400 feet from a home in Denton, which just became Texas' first city to ban fracking.

Courts Will Take Up Case of Fracking v. Drilling

Legal wrangling will settle challenges to Denton's newly passed fracking ban, and give Texans a free course on the widely mischaracterized oilfield technique that has put Texas at the forefront a national energy boom.

Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013
Fracking in Fort Worth, Sept. 27, 2013

First Lawsuits Filed Over Denton's New Fracking Ban

Just hours after Denton voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, the state’s General Land Office and biggest petroleum group filed off legal challenges to the new rule. The Texas Oil and Gas Association called the ban unconstitutional, saying it supercedes state law and deprives mineral owners of their property rights.

 

Newly-elected Land Commissioner George P. Bush speaking at the GOP Election night party at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas on Nov. 4, 2014.
Newly-elected Land Commissioner George P. Bush speaking at the GOP Election night party at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas on Nov. 4, 2014.

Republicans Extend Statewide Streak to 16 Years

Texas Democrats maintained their 16-year losing streak on Election Day, with Republicans decisively sweeping all 15 statewide races on the ballot. As of late Tuesday, Republicans were leading by more than 20 percentage points in all of the statewide races. Texans have not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.