Republican candidates for the open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission were interviewed by Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune in an open forum yesterday. They were asked about global warming, earthquakes, the EPA, House Bill 40 and municipal regulation of drilling, Sunset Commission review of the Commission in the upcoming legislative session, and the role of the Commission in both regulating and promoting oil and gas development in the state. You can watch the forum here. The Tribune has apparently decided not to hold a similar forum for the Democratic candidates running for the same seat.
- With two exceptions, the candidates refused to admit that human activity contributes to global warming, although they did appear to admit that global warming is occurring.
- No candidate admitted any causal link between oil and gas activity and earthquakes in North Texas.
- All candidates decried EPA regulation. But when asked why cities should not be allowed to regulate oil and gas activity within their jurisdictions, all agreed that the state — and in particular the Railroad Commission — were better equipped than cities to regulate that activity. “Local control” in this case means state control.
- Except (possibly) for changing the name of the Railroad Commission, no candidate advocated any legislative changes to the Commission’s statutory authority or structure.
- Only one candidate advocated limits on when and from whom Commissioners could accept political contributions.