On Wednesday, September 2, 2015, Mark Miller, Libertarian candidate for Railroad Commissioner addressed our meeting at Scotty P’s Hamburgers in Allen.In attendance were about a dozen local party members as well as three representatives of the Collin College Chapter of the Young Americans for Liberty.Mark shared with us his thoughts on the history of the commission and ideas for what should be done about it in the future. A few of his main points were:
- While in the past the commission did, in fact, regulate railroads (it was created as a consumer protection agency) it no longer has anything to do with railroads and instead regulates the oil and gas industries in Texas.
- The three rotating Railroad Commissioners are part of the plural executive encoded in the Texas Constitution.
- The commission rose to prominence after the discovery of oil in East Texas which created disarray in the market place.
- While oil has been the life blood of the Texas economy, it is likely that natural gas will vault to even greater prominence in the near future.
- Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a fantastic new technology, but there are environmental concerns including earthquakes. The current commission seems to ignore the science.
- Perhaps of greater concern is the way the commission will deal with property rights. Texas is one of a few states in which mineral rights are viewed as superior to surface rights. The conflict between these rights will become more and more prevalent in the future.
- Of the declared candidates for all parties, Mark is uniquely qualified to be commissioner.