Committee debates railroad commission changes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas lawmakers are considering a fundamental change to the make-up of the Texas Railroad Commission.

A Senate committee heard testimony Monday on a bill that would change the name of the commission to the Texas Oil and Gas Commission. The commission hasn't had authority over the railroad system since 2005.

But the debate centered on a more contentious portion of the bill. The draft legislation would consolidate the leadership from three commissioners to only one.

Supporters of the restructuring say the commission lacks uniformity and transparency under the direction of 3 different commissioners with often differing agendas.

Opponents say the oil and gas industry has kept the Texas economy afloat and doesn't need unnecessary volatility that may upset a delicate balance.