The Railroad Commission of Texas
) is the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry
, gas utilities, pipeline safety, safety in the liquefied petroleum gas
industry, and surface coal and uranium mining (despite its name, it no longer regulates railroads).
Established by the Texas Legislature
in 1891, it is the state's oldest regulatory agency and began as part of the Efficiency Movement
of the Progressive Era
. From the 1930s to the 1960s it largely set world oil prices, but was displaced by OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
) after 1973. In 1984 the federal government took over transportation regulation for railroads, trucking and buses, but the Railroad Commission kept its name. With an annual budget of $79 million it now focuses entirely on oil, gas, mining, propane, and pipelines, setting allocations for production each month.
Attempts to establish a railroad commission in Texas began in 1876. After five legislative failures, an amendment to the state constitution providing for a railroad commission was submitted to voters in 1890. The amendment's ratification and the 1890 election of Governor James S. Hogg
, a liberal Democrat, permitted the legislature in 1891 to create the Railroad Commission,
giving it jurisdiction over operations of railroads, terminals, wharves, and express companies. It could set rates, issue rules on how to classify freight, require... Read More