Nearly one-dozen candidates plan to compete for the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) seat being vacated by current Chairman David Porter.

Seven Republicans, three Democrats and one Libertarian have entered the race to join the three-member panel that regulates Texas oil and natural gas but has nothing to do with railroads. The primary is scheduled for March 1. RRC terms last for six years.

Based on social media information, here are profiles of the Republicans:

  • Austinite John Greytok has promised to fight what he deems to be overreach by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "The EPA will go to any lengths to promote its radical leftist agenda, including breaking the law," he said on Facebook. "It used an illegal covert propaganda campaign to help protect its regulations [see Shale DailyDec. 15]. It's time we had leadership that will take a stand against the EPA..."
  • Wayne Christian, a former state representative from Center, TX, "...has been dubbed by many as the 'General' of the Texas Tea Party," according to a profile on the Tea Party 911 website.
  • Ron Hale of Cypress, TX, said on his website that "as the state agency that regulates the energy industry in Texas, the Railroad Commission has a powerful sway over a large portion of the Texas economy. It is very important to elect candidates to the commission who maintain a conservative, pro-growth philosophy."
  • Gary Gates of Rosenberg, TX, is a wealthy real estate developer and rancher who spent more than $1 million of his own money in a recent unsuccessful bid for a seat on the state senate.
  • Weston Martinez, according to his Twitter account, is a "conservative and Hispanic political media analyst/strategist/consultant." He is "pro life, pro gun, pro family, pro Israel, pro Texas, pro U.S.A."
  • U.S. Air Force veteran Doug Jeffrey of Vernon, TX, quotes President Reagan on his website: "Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." More details on his campaign are forthcoming, it said.
  • Lance Christian of Austin has been employed by the RRC as a geoscientist since 2013, and prior to that he was a geoscientist at the Texas Water Development Board, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The Democrats running are:

  • Lon Burnam, a former state representative from Fort Worth, as a lawmaker was active in drafting hydraulic fracturing fluid disclosure rules and more recently advocated to eliminate tax deductions for high-cost wells, such as those in shale plays (see Shale DailyJan. 23, 2013).
  • Cody Garrett is a former Austin television reporter and a Democratic precinct chair.
  • Grady Yarbrough of Flint, TX, is a former educator from San Antonio. He lost in a runoff in the 2012 Texas Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Libertarian candidate Mark Miller, a petroleum engineer, announced he would run for a seat on the RRC last September. "As commissioner, I promise to transform the agency by bringing increased transparency and accountability, a culture of simplification and regular review, and a new focus on surface property rights," he said at the time.