Facilitating Energy Sector Growth & Reforming the Texas Railroad Commission
I believe that the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) can improve on its promise to adequately support industry growth while also protecting the environment, ensuring public safety, and safeguarding land owner and consumer rights. It is important that we continue the abundant growth of our energy industry, as it’s the engine of our state’s economy. Equally important, the Texas Railroad Commission must have the resources to quickly respond to everyday Texans’ concerns. I believe that this agency can once again effectively operate as it was intended— to facilitate energy production while also protecting the interests of all Texans. That’s why there needs to be a proven public advocate on the Railroad Commission. Here’s my plan to reform and strengthen the RRC.
Strengthening the Texas Railroad Commission
#1 — Office of Public Advocacy
I will work to establish an Office of Public Advocacy that will serve as a resource to advise Commissioners on how regulatory changes might impact Texas landowners and consumers. This office will also serve as a watchdog for citizens with grievances before the Commission, and can assist them during the hearing process.
#2 — Adequate Funding
The Texas Railroad Commission has traditionally been woefully underfunded. It desperately needs a Commissioner with knowledge of the state budgetary process who can influence the allocation of needed resources to this agency. Having an adequately funded agency not only helps to expedite the permitting process but will also ensure that more qualified staff are in the field keeping the general public safe.
#3 — Staff Training and Development
A growing concern with industry leaders is ensuring that the RRC has the staff to support its various regulatory functions. This is partially a result of high staff turnover, but it’s also due to a lack of aggressive recruiting, professional development opportunities and staff retention efforts. I will work to ensure that we implement best practices for improving staff morale, training and increasing salaries to market levels.
#4 — Environmental Stewardship
Leaving a legacy of environmental stewardship is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to the next generation of Texans. In these times of vast oil and gas abundance we must also work to mitigate the effects of the environmentally harmful byproducts of energy exploration and production. I will work to enforce policies designed to protect the environment and keep the public safe.
#5 — Job Creation and Workforce Development
Growing our base of oil and gas jobs will be a top priority as your Railroad Commissioner. This industry’s economic surge has helped to separate our state from others struggling through a tepid recovery. It is essential that we allow this industry to continue to grow, which means ensuring that we have a ready, capable workforce to support that growth. I pledge to work with educators and industry leaders to create workforce training centers where we can train at-risk youth to develop skills that will lead them to middle class job opportunities. I will also work to encourage small and disadvantaged businesses to partner with larger oil and gas companies and build working relationships.