Historic State Commission Might be Renamed

Railroad Commission has nothing to do with railroads

By Bruce Felps
|  Thursday, Jan 13, 2011  |  Updated 4:00 PM CDT
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Historic State Commission Might be Renamed

AP

Crews are still cleaning up the tracks in Northbrook.

Commentary
by Bruce Felps

Big Brother was watching the last time the Railroad Commission of Texas made a decision remotely affecting railroads. The feds took over rail, truck, and bus regulations in 1984.

No biggie for the Texas railroad commissioners, though. The state agency pretty much gave up on overseeing train operations by the ‘60s and had all but turned its rapt attention to oil and gas pipelines and such soon after the Spindletop gusher.

Still, state legislators had grown rather fond of the original moniker, apparently, and declined to rename the agency during the 2005 and 2009 Legislatures because, as state Rep. Tom Craddick said in an Associated Press article, "It's the oldest state agency and if you mention the Texas Railroad Commission … people instantly know what the agency is."

Oh, do they, Tom? Do they really?

The AP quoted Railroad Commission Chairman Michael Williams in that same article.
"I mean it does not depict at all what we do and it's tremendously confusing to the public," he said, sharing anecdotes of listening to people complain about trains and then letting them down gently by saying, "Sorry, I have nothing to do with the railroad."

Soooo, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission yesterday recommended a name change from Railroad Commission of Texas to Texas Oil and Gas Commission, which probably makes too much sense for the Legislature, which convenes next week, to approve.

They probably should call it the Energy Industry’s Bi... sorry, Lackey Commission. Sorry, that’s already taken by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He could give a flip what they call any governmental agency. Like it matters.
 

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