Zenith Blog


3 Things I Learned After Hearing Texas Railroad Commissioner Jim Wright

By Chris Yee | Uncategorized | Nov 7

Jim Wright is one of three Texas Railroad Commission (TXRRC) commissioners. He was elected in 2020 (in the middle of a pandemic!) to a six-year term. He was the featured speaker at Thursday’s Houston Chemical Association (HASHTAG HCA) monthly meeting.

I was fortunate enough to sit at Commissioner Wright’s table at lunch. He absolutely doesn’t give off a politician vibe. He’s a fifth-generation rancher who has lived in South Texas all his live. He’s an entrepreneur and had never run for political office before 2020.

Here are the top three things I learned from Commissioner Wright last week

  1. The TXRRC was established in 1891 and it’s the oldest regulatory agency in Texas. Contrary to its name, the Railroad Commission has absolutely zero jurisdiction or authority over railroads in Texas. The TXRRC has primary regulatory jurisdiction over the oil and natural gas industry, pipeline transporters, natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline industry, natural gas utilities, the LP-gas industry, and coal and uranium surface mining operations. For more info, check out https://www.rrc.texas.gov/.
  2. We all know communication is so very important, but Commissioner Wright challenged us to communicate in two ways. First, we need to communicate by voting. Per https://www.texastribune.org/2022/02/14/texas-primary-voting-turnout/, less than 20% of Texas registered voters participated in this year’s primaries. Second, we need to communicate with our elected officials. Commissioner Wright asked if we were upset over how our electricity rates have skyrocketed in the last couple years. We all nodded. He then asked us how many of us have contacted our state representatives about it. The room got real quiet.
  3. Commissioner Wright talked about how prices increase when uncertainty increases. Anyone who has shopped for groceries in the last year has seen first-hand that supply chain uncertainty translates into higher prices. Commissioner Wright reminded us that uncertainty about regulation similarly causes prices to rise. He’s fighting the good fight to reduce that uncertainty by fostering dialog between industry and state, federal and local governmental agencies.

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