States Will Lead the Next Energy Revolution

by Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian

May 05, 2017

Texas is on the verge of a new energy revolution. The potential for job creation, economic prosperity and investment in our energy sector is almost limitless.

Key to ensuring it stays that way is reducing or removing regulatory roadblocks to energy exploration and production, without compromising public or environmental safety.  I will carry this message with me next week when I attend my first Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) as Governor Greg Abbott’s appointee for Texas.

The IOGCC is one of the oldest, largest, and most important interstate compacts in the nation. It was formed more than 80 years ago when six states joined together to resolve common issues and share best practices for industry regulation, minimizing federal intervention.

I’m especially proud to represent our state on this important Commission given my East Texas roots and my dedication to private property rights and fighting federal overreach.

IOGCC’s formation can in part be traced back to my home region of East Texas, where in 1930 Columbus “Dad” Joiner struck oil outside Kilgore in what became known as the East Texas Field. That discovery launched an oil rush, the likes of which our nation had never seen, bringing to light a number of issues that would change the course of the oil and gas industry for decades to come.

What was happening in the East Texas Field was also happening in other states. The absence of virtually any regulation led to overproduction and waste of natural resources. The situation was so bad in the East Texas Field, Governor Ross Sterling ordered the Texas National Guard and Texas Rangers out to the region to maintain order.

That combination of the oil field chaos and lack of regulatory certainty from states, led to serious discussions by Congress about whether the federal government, not the states, should regulate the production of oil and gas. Fortunately, a compromise was reached and interstate compact (IOGCC) would be formed by oil producing states to cooperatively craft uniform conservation laws.

The production of domestic energy is vital to all Americans, but what works in Texas might not work in North Dakota, Ohio, or even Oklahoma. With such massive differences in geology, population, and political climate, it makes more sense for states to collaborate on best practices, then implement what makes sense for their respective regions.

IOGCC is an incubator for ideas and shaping a shared vision for our nation’s energy future in ways that protect state sovereignty and prevent the federal government from imposing one-size-fits-all mandates from Washington D.C.

As the nation’s largest energy producer Texas has much to share with other oil and gas producing states. In Texas, commonsense regulation is the rule, not the exception.  Our state must be a leader in any discussion on energy production policy; not only our state’s economic future, but our nation’s economic future depends on this important work.


A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected to join the Railroad Commission of Texas in November 2016. In 1996, Christian was elected to the House of Representatives as the first Republican elected from Deep East Texas since Reconstruction after the Civil War. During his time in the Texas House, Christian served as Vice-Chair of Regulated Industries and as a multi-term member of the Energy Resource Committee. On these committees, he had direct oversight of the Railroad Commission and accumulated a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations.

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