Staples Leaving Ag Commissioner Post Early to Head Oil and Gas Association

UPDATED: Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples confirmed he has been selected to head up the Texas Oil and Gas Association – the state’s largest and oldest petroleum group. He will leave his current post early.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples answers an Evan Smith question at TribLive on October 31, 2013.

Updated Sept. 18, 11:30 a.m.: 

The Texas Oil and Gas Association has named Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples its next president. 

"It will be my honor and privilege to work with this dynamic industry at a time when Texas energy production is anchoring our state's economy and bolstering our nation's energy security," Staples said in a statement. 

Staples will be leaving office early — within the next two months — to take on the new position. His tenure was supposed to wrap up by January.  

“I am pleased the Texas Department of Agriculture will be in good hands for the time between my departure and when a new commissioner takes office," he said. "Chief of Staff Shannon Rusing and Deputy Commissioner Drew DeBerry, who by statute holds all the authorities of the commissioner, will continue in their roles during this transition time."

 

Original story: 

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has been selected to head up the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) – the state’s largest and oldest petroleum group, sources say.

Staples, in office since 2007, lost a bid this year for lieutenant governor. At TXOGA, he will replace Rob Looney, who announced in March that he would leave the association after 26 years.

“It’s a done deal,” said one source close to Staples.

The source said Staples and the association are still negotiating a contract, but that Staples would likely step down from his commissioner post early so that he could be in place before the Legislature convenes.

Staples could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for TXOGA said she could not confirm the report. 

Staples' term is set to expire in January.

The source said TXOGA is expected to announce the selection tomorrow.

Staples would take over at a time of historic growth in oil and gas production. Spurred by technological advances like hydraulic fracturing, Texas has reached production numbers unseen in more than three decades, helping the state's Rainy Day Fund grow to $8 billion. The industry has also drawn increased scrutiny from those who have raised concerns about the industry’s impact on the environment, public health and local infrastructure.

Staples, a former state lawmaker, is also a business owner and has experience with real-estate appraisal and brokerage and property tax consulting. He is also a rancher and plant nursery owner.