What, exactly, does the Railroad Commissioner do? Hopefully we have been explanatory enough for you to know that it has absolutely nothing to do with the railroads. Simply put, this post serves as the de facto oil & gas czar for Texas, a highly important job in the new Texas oil boom. Admittedly, the opinion of this board is to favor more environmental regulations on these businesses than the candidates in this Republican primary, Wayne Christian and Ryan Sitton. Of course, we also fully repudiate those on the left-wing who believe that all drilling is evil and should be eviscerated. A balancing is needed, one that we fear the candidates will not deliver on.
Take fracking, for example. The revolutionary process opens up previously-unreachable shale sources of energy, which Texas is quite literally riddled with, opening open the possibly of yet another oil boom in this State. The problem is that there are some serious side-effects with this new technology, including pollution and earthquakes. A railroad commissioner should be able to balance environmental interest with economical ones. He should be able to gauge relevant facts on the matter to do this, not being swayed by any sort of partisan dogma. Unfortunately, it is our belief that both Christian and Sitton do this in the unfortunate race to the right that is all too ubiquitous in today’s Republican Party.
Whether it is the alleged intolerable evil of President Obama, the nefarious plots of the EPA or even Benghazi’s 2011 attack, both candidates regularly meander off topic. Heck, Sitton even made an entire TV advertisement on his reactionary immigration positions. But there is one topic where the two differ somewhat substantially: ethics.
Sitton has repeatedly refused to divest his financial interests in oil & gas companies if he were elected. Some of the same companies that could make millions of dollars as a direct result of the decisions of the Railroad Commission. See the problem?
We have a lot concerns about Christian, but his sincerity and integrity is not one of them. A longtime member of the Legislature, Christian always served his constituency –in Shelby County– with honor. To speak colloquially, he puts his cards on the table and you know what you got. He may not be the best choice for the position in a perfect world, but of the two choices, he certainly is.
Accordingly, we endorse Wayne Christian in the Republican primary runoff for Railroad Commissioner.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, Sophia Arena of Houston, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority opinion of the board.