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Texas appoints Milton Rister new Railroad Commission director

Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) responsible for permitting oil and gas drilling and production wells, as well as pipelines, announced Tuesday that Milton Rister, a member of Gov. Rick Perry's staff, will be the new executive director of the agency. Rister will begin his new job on October 1 and oversee the day to day operations of the agency and work to implement policies established by the commissioners.

"We believe him to be a very good fit going forward as we head into legislative session and work our way through the Sunset process and begin to modernize the Railroad Commission, bringing new IT and all the issues that were raised by the Sunset Commission", said Barry Smitherman, the commission chairman. "Milton comes with a vast amount of experience and is well-recommended".

Rister who replaces John Tintera, has considerable legislative and political experience, serving as Gov.Perry's Director of Administration since 2010, the executive director of Texas Legislative Council from 2006 to 2009, and as a senior advisor to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in 2005.

RCC chairman Barry Smitherman described Rister's skills as invaluable as the commission enters its second Sunset review in a row. The Sunset Advisory Commission reviewed the RCC in 2010 and made recommendations on the agency to the 82nd Legislature. Legislation containing the Sunset recommendations, however, failed to pass and legislation was enacted to continue the agency until 2013.

The Railroad Commission of Texas is the state's oldest regulatory agency and was established in 1891 to oversee railroads. Since the 1930s the commission has held a leading role in the regulation of oil and gas.

The Sunset Advisory Commission was created in 1977 to identify and eliminate waste, duplications and inefficiency in government agencies. In most cases agencies under Sunset review are automatically abolished unless legislation is enacted to continue them.

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