Texas House Approves Secret Rate Hearings

Texas – Oil and gas regulators would be given the authority to discuss gas rate increases in secret under a proposal that has won approval in the Texas House.

The measure was approved unanimously Monday as an amendment to legislation that makes reforms to the Texas Railroad Commission. The bill, up for debate Monday night, would change the name of the agency to the Texas Oil and Gas Commission, which has nothing to do with railroads. It oversees the state's oil and gas industry, including more than 350,000 miles of pipeline.

Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, got support for the measure allowing secret deliberations during gas rate hearings and other contested cases that go before the commission. He said it was needed to allow commissioners to freely discuss gas rates other disputed matters.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.