Railroad Commissioners Recognize Agency’s 125th Birthday - Texas’ Oldest Regulatory Agency has Long, Proud Tradition of Protecting Public Safety & Environment

04/12/2016

AUSTIN – At their regularly scheduled conference today, all three Railroad Commissioners recognized the Railroad Commission of Texas’ 125th birthday, and its long, proud tradition of protecting public safety and natural resources. The Commissioners also thanked former Railroad Commissioners in attendance for their public service. 

The Railroad Commission—Texas’ oldest regulatory state agency— was established April 3, 1891 by the Legislature, giving the Commission jurisdiction over rates and operations of railroads, terminals, wharves and express companies. Since then, it has been given responsibility for overseeing numerous industries and currently has primary oversight and enforcement over the state’s oil and gas exploration and production industry and intrastate pipeline safety. The Commission also regulates alternative fuels’ safety, natural gas utilities and surface mining. The agency’s jurisdiction over rail safety was transferred by the Legislature to the Texas Department of Transportation in 2005. 

Chairman David Porter said, “The Railroad Commission has shaped Texas’ energy industry, and our energy industry has changed the world. Delegates from countries across the globe have traveled here to see how the Commission manages to successfully protect our citizens and natural resources without slowing down the most important industry to our economy. While the rules and regulations we have in place at the Commission have guided our success, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work and dedication of our staff.” 

Commissioner Christi Craddick said, “As we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Railroad Commission, we look back on more than a century of balanced, consistent, yet innovative, pro-growth policies that have kept Texans and our resources safe and our state’s historic oil and gas industry, a pillar of the Texas economy, thriving. Today, we could not be more proud of the Commission’s position as a global leader in energy regulation, standing as a testament to the fact that environmental safety and energy development can coexist for the betterment of all Texans.” 

Commissioner Ryan Sitton said, “The Railroad Commission of Texas has succeeded in its mission to protect the public and our natural resources over the course of its 125-year history for one reason: its dedicated and hard-working staff. Without the knowledgeable staff, many of whom have served the agency for over 30 years, the commission would not have been able to provide the technical expertise and high degree of customer service this agency provides to the people of Texas.  I’m honored to serve with the dedicated employees of the commission and look forward to continually improving the job we do for Texans and the energy industry as a whole.”  

Former Railroad Commissioners attending today’s conference were: Elizabeth Coleman; Victor G. Carrillo; Buddy Garcia; Clark Jobe; Carole Keeton; Dr. Charles Matthews; Mary Scott Nabers; Barry Smitherman; and Michael Williams.

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Current and former Railroad Commissioners at today's Railroad Commission of Texas 125th birthday celebration.

About the Railroad Commission 

Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov.