Texas Senate, House disagree over how to fund the Railroad Commission

The Texas Senate and House disagree when it comes to funding the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulator.

In budget proposals submitted last week, the Senate proposed cutting $13.6 million from the commission’s funds. The House, on the other hand, has proposed raising the agency’s budget by $35 million, one of the few budget hikes for agencies proposed by the House.

The Railroad Commission budget comes mostly from industry fees and has been hard hit by the oil downturn as companies cut production and many went out of business. The agency has had to cut staff and reduce the number of orphan wells it plugs.

The agency has asked for an additional $44.9 million, part of which will go towards growing its staff of 158 inspectors. The inspectors oversee around 440,000 oil and gas wells, more than 75 percent of which are considered active, according to budget documents.