"Texas Railroad Commission Takes Steps to Modernize"

"The Railroad Commission of Texas regulates one of the most advanced industries in the world — oil and gas drilling. Yet the commission's software systems, many of its rules and even its name are from another era."

"As the 122-year-old agency confronts a drilling boom that is altering the state and national economies, an overhaul of its operations is under way. Its old mainframe computer system will be upgraded with modern digital storage, clearing the way for a more user-friendly website. Decades-old regulations are getting updated to reflect the rapid spread of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And the Legislature may change the commission's name to accurately reflect what it does. (The commission's railroad duties ended in 2005.)

The push does not go far enough for critics, who charge that the commission is too cozy with the industry it regulates and fails to adequately address environmental problems. Nonetheless, observers say there is a burst of energy, unseen in years, at the sometimes-languid commission."

Kate Galbraith reports for the Texas Tribune January 25, 2013.

Source: Texas Tribune, 01/25/2013