Texas' oil and gas regulator has instituted a blanket policy barring staff from doing media interviews.
The Railroad Commission's policy raises questions about transparency just as the state grapples with one of the largest energy booms in decades.
Other Texas agencies routinely allow staff to talk to the media.
The agency's three elected commissioners approved the policy in August, about a year after Milton Rister was named executive director. Since then all media inquiries have been funneled through a spokeswoman who responds via email.
Rister and the commissioners declined to comment.
Democratic state Rep. Trey Martinez, who serves on the Texas Legislature's Transparency in State Agency Operations Committee, says "there needs to be some rationale behind the Railroad Commission or any agency to outweigh the public's right to be informed."
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