che Railroad Commissim of exas
Its Origi ad J(istory
JAMES R. NORVELL
THE TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION, FROM THE STANDPOINT
of jurisdiction, authority, value of property subject to
regulation, natural resources controlled, and activities
supervised, is one of the most extensive administrative bodies in
the United States. That all of its activities should be carried on
by one organization and that certain business enterprises are free
from its supervision are considered incongruous by many out of
state observers, and the situation can hardly be explained on any
basis other than an historical one.
At the present time the Railroad Commission exercises au-
thority in five major fields:
1. Railroads, their rates, and regulations. This area is not as
extensive in the 1960's as it was originally.
2. The production and transportation of oil, gas, and similar
minerals. This is an extensive and far-reaching power.
3. Regulation of motor transportation, both passenger buses
and freight trucks.'
4. Regulation of butane and propane gases used for public
consumption.2 There are in Texas more than 6o01,234 domestic
or residential users of butane or propane gas and 3,967 public
users, including churches and schools. The Railroad Commission
sets the specifications for such items as propane and butane gas
tanks and outlets. More than 2,663 licenses for butane and pro-
1Vernon's Annotated Revised Civil Statutes of the State of Texas, Revision of
1964, Articles 9iia, 9gib, 9gid. The basic act was adopted in 1929. See General
and Special Laws of the State of Texas, 41st Leg., Reg. Sess., 698. This act was
amended substantially in 1931. Ibid., 42nd Leg., Reg. Sess., 480. See also, ibid.,
43rd Leg., Reg. Sess., 135; ibid., 45th Leg., Reg. Sess., 651.
'Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code, ibid., 56th Leg., Reg. Sess., 844; Vernon's Anno-
tated Texas Statutes, Articles 6o66d, 6052a, 6053.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/. Accessed March 12, 2014.