Full Title: Captive Agency Part 1: Conflict of Interest Policies at the Railroad Commission of Texas Need Reform
Author(s): Andrew Wheat, Virginia Palacios
Publisher(s): Commission Shift
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
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The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) is a 130-year-old state agency that oversees oil and gas
development, coal and uranium mining, and natural gas utility service among other functions. Its
mission is to serve Texas through stewardship of natural resources and the environment, concern for personal and community safety, and support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. Too often, the commission has focused on accelerated oil and gas development at the expense of safety, economic vitality, natural resources and the environment.
Agency policies that let sitting commissioners profit from the industry that they oversee, however, may
exacerbate this inadequate oversight. In this report, Commission Shift and Texans for Public Justice explore Railroad Commission policies that undermine balanced governance of oil and gas development.
This analysis explains how current policies impair the ability of the Railroad Commission to fulfill its
mission. As part of a series examining each of the three railroad commissioners, this analysis provides examples of cases in which lax enforcement of recusal rules allowed Railroad Commission Chair Christi Craddick to participate in cases involving significant campaign contributors and companies in which she had personal financial stakes.