Constitutional Amendment may change the name of the Texas Railroad Commission to the Texas Energy Commission

As a sign of changing times, Commissioner Ryan Sitton of the Texas Railroad Commission has proposed changing the name of the regulatory body, founded in 1891, to the Texas Energy Commission.

In a March Op-Ed piece in the Houston Chronicle, Sitton wrote, “After spending months visiting with people from across the state ranging from grass-roots groups to local elected officials to industry leaders, I’m more convinced than ever that we need to rename the agency that regulates energy production in Texas.”

According to Sitton the commission has “nothing to do with trains;” rather, “The commission’s purpose, which is to oversee energy production by protecting the public, preventing waste and protecting correlative rights.”

On April 20, Stitton testified before the House Committee on Energy Resources to rename the commission.

House Joint Resolution, authored by Rep. Larry Phillips (HD 62), proposes a constitutional amendment changing the Railroad Commission’s name to the Texas Energy Commission. Commissioner Sitton said he supports renaming the commission to better communicate to Texans the agency’s role in regulating the state’s oil and gas industry.

Before the House Committee Sitton said, “In the interest of transparency and good government, we ought to have an agency name that accurately reflects what we do.  It’s my job as a commissioner to give the people of Texas confidence in the way that oil and gas are being developed in our state, and this change would go a long way towards accomplishing that objective,” Commissioner Ryan Sitton said. “I appreciate Chairman Phillips offering common-sense legislation to change the name of the Railroad Commission to the Texas Energy Commission.  As energy production in Texas has grown exponentially over the past few years, more and more Texans have questions and need to know who to call for answers–no one thinks to call the Railroad Commission when they have an energy question or concern,” concluded Sitton.

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