What is a Railroad Commissioner?

Candidates are running in the Nov.8 General Election.

Candidates are running in the Nov.8 General Election.

When walking into a voting booth, many constituents may wonder what each down-ballot position does. Here's your guide to what the Railroad Commissioner does in Texas.

What is the Railroad Commission of Texas?

The Railroad Commission of Texas was established in 1891 to “prevent discrimination in railroad charges and establish reasonable tariffs,” according to its website. The commission is a state agency made up of three commissioners.

It was initially created to oversee the railroad industry, however, over time its responsibilities have changed. The Commission now oversees the oil and gas industry and derives its responsibilities from the Texas Natural Resource Code.

What does a Railroad Commissioner do?

The three commissioners sit at the head of the commission to regulate the oil and gas industry, pipeline transporters, natural gas utilities, the liquid pipeline industry, coal and uranium surface mining operations and the LP-gas industry.

They set monthly production quotas, issue oil and gas drilling permits and order inspections of wells and facilities.

What does the Railroad Commission of Texas not oversee?

Notably—any railroads. Over the years, the Commission’s founding duties have been transferred to other agencies. In 2005, the Commission transferred the last of their railroad oversight to the Department of Transportation.

Legislation was introduced in 2013 to change the name of the Commission from railroad to energy to more accurately reflect its current oversight, but failed in the Texas House of Representatives.

The Commission also does not have jurisdiction over public or private roads, noise complaints, odors or air contaminants, or royalty payments for rail property.

What is the term of a Railroad Commissioner?

Commissioners are elected to six-year terms, with one of the three positions up for re-election every two years.

If a commissioner is appointed by the Governor to fill an unexpired term, the appointee serves until the next general election, when the appointee can run for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Who are the current Railroad Commissioners?

  • David Porter, elected in 2010

  • Christi Craddick, elected in 2012

  • Ryan Sitton, elected in 2014


David Porter's position is open this year as he is not running for re-election.

Who will I see on the ballot this year?

  • Rep. Wayne Christian, Republican

  • Grady Yarbrough, Democrat

  • Martina Salinas, Green Party

  • Mark Miller, Libertarian



MOST RECENT

The budget amendment came after an hour-long debate over how far the district could dip into its reserve funding to cover the raise. (Community Impact staff)
HISD approves $2,500 pay raise for teachers with another bump possibly coming in August

The budget amendment came after an hour-long debate over how far the district could dip into its reserve funding to cover the raise.

The Atrium Center will be able to be reserved for meetings, conferences, weddings, anniversary celebrations, birthday parties and community events. (Courtesy Rockin’ AD Photography)
East Montgomery County Improvement District offices to be repurposed into event venue The Atrium Center

The venue will be able to be reserved for meetings, conferences, weddings, anniversary celebrations, birthday parties and community events.

The Firework Extravaganza will begin at 9:30 p.m. July 4 (Courtesy The Woodlands Township)
Celebrate dad, see Fourth of July fireworks: 12 things to do in The Woodlands area this June and July

Events in The Woodlands area in June and July include celebrations for Father's Day and the Fourth of July.

The Woodlands Township board of directors will meet June 17. (Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands to resume incorporation planning sessions June 17

After a break of more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Woodlands Township will resume its incorporation planning meetings June 17.

ShareTea opened in Metropark Square in early June. (Courtesy ShareTea)
ShareTea now open in Metropark Square

ShareTea opened June 7 at the Metropark Square in The Woodlands.

The Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce hosted the State of the State luncheon June 10. (Kim Giannetti/Community Impact Newspaper)
State Reps. Harless, Swanson reflect on 87th legislative session bills, events from pandemic to Winter Storm Uri

State Reps. Sam Harless and Valoree Swanson talked ERCOT and criminal justice reform, gun safety, senior living and redistricting at the June 10 Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce's State of the State luncheon.

Avanti Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar opened a second location. (Courtesy Avanti Italian Kitchen)
Avanti Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar opens second location in The Woodlands

The new location comes after the original location receive positive reception from the Creekside community.

Java Owl reopened Monday morning, May 17. (Courtesy of Java Owl Coffee House)
IMPACTS ROUNDUP: Java Owl reopens on E. NASA Parkway and more

Here is a roundup of recent business news in the Bay Area.

The Shenandoah City Council approved a resolution regarding an updated thoroughfare plan June 9. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Shenandoah City Council weighs in on Montgomery County's 2021 thoroughfare plan

Among the projects opposed by the council is an I-45 overpass from Vision Park Drive.

Construction on the The Promise House, a day center aimed at assisting the local homeless population, will begin on June 14 in Humble. (Rendering courtesy of The Family Promise of Lake Houston)
Construction set to begin on The Promise House homeless day center in Humble

The Promise House will serve the local homeless community by providing individual counseling services, higher education and training classes, mentoring, and administrative offices for area families.

Taco Bueno sells tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and more unique items, including the Muchaco, a taco made with a soft pita-like shell. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Taco Bueno coming to Katy and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.