Pipeline mogul wins state parks board approval from Senate panel


Highlights

Kelcy Warren’s appointment to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission next goes to the full Senate.

Environmentalists had objected to Warren’s appointment, saying he faces conflicts of interest.

Warren has served on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission since 2015.

A pipeline executive who oversees some of the country’s most contentious oil and gas projects moved a step closer Thursday to winning Senate approval for a seat on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The Texas Senate Nominations Committee voted 4-3 along party lines to pass the nomination of pipeline executive Kelcy Warren, whose company is building pipelines in West Texas and the Dakotas, on to the full Republican-controlled Senate, where he likely to win easy confirmation.

Last week, arguing that Warren faces conflicts of interest, at least nine people testified against his appointment to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission; none testified in his favor.

TEXAS POLITICS DELIVERED EVERY DAY: Sign up for our Texas Politics email

Warren was appointed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission by Gov. Greg Abbott in November 2015 — he has served since then, with this session of the Legislature being his first opportunity for confirmation. He has given more than $700,000 since 2013 to Texans for Greg Abbott.

Warren’s approval solely by Republicans on the committee appears to be only the second party-line vote this session — even as it has approved hundreds of the governor’s appointees.

The other person approved by a 4-3 vote was Josh McGee to the state Pension Review Board; Abbott said the Houston economist was an expert in retirement policy, but labor organizations had opposed McGee, whom they accused of seeking to gut public pensions.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

Warren has recused himself from at least one pipeline-related decision that has come before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

“If we want expert testimony on energy production on or close to park lands, (the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission) can invite (Warren’s) testimony,” David King of Austin told the committee last week. But the prospect of further recusals means Warren “does not really give him opportunity to provide representation to the state of Texas.”

In a statement, Warren said last week that he is “honored to have been appointed” to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.”

Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesman Josh Havens said the agency is “deeply appreciative for every Texan who has volunteered their time to serve on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

House panel approves abortion complications bill
House panel approves abortion complications bill

The House State Affairs Committee on Monday approved 8-3 a bill that would require doctors to report to the state abortion-related complications or face fines and loss of their license to practice medicine. Voting no were Democrats Helen Giddings of DeSoto, Jessica Farrar of Houston and Eddie Rodriguez of Austin. House Bill 13 by state Rep. Giovanni...
House panel approves abortion complications bill
House panel approves abortion complications bill

The House State Affairs Committee on Monday approved 8-3 a bill that would require doctors to report to the state abortion-related complications or face fines and loss of their license to practice medicine. Voting no were Democrats Helen Giddings of DeSoto, Jessica Farrar of Houston and Eddie Rodriguez of Austin. House Bill 13 by state Rep. Giovanni...
Gov. Abbott upbeat on prospects for special session agenda in House
Gov. Abbott upbeat on prospects for special session agenda in House

A week ago, as the Legislature prepared to convene in special session, Gov. Greg Abbott warned that he would be naming names of those lawmakers who back his agenda and those who don’t. “No one gets to hide,” Abbott told the audience at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation on July 17. But on Monday, the governor took a sunnier...
Feds charge truck driver in smuggling case; immigrant death toll at 10
Feds charge truck driver in smuggling case; immigrant death toll at 10

In one of the deadliest human smuggling cases in Texas in at least a decade — which authorities say could be connected to the Zeta drug cartel — federal officials have charged the driver of an 18-wheeler after his tractor-trailer was found crammed with dozens of immigrants, 10 of whom have died from the heat inside the container. A criminal...
Motorcyclist critically injured in western Travis County crash
Motorcyclist critically injured in western Travis County crash

WESTERN TRAVIS COUNTY Motorcyclist critically injured in crash A motorcyclist was critically injured after he crashed on Southwest Parkway in western Travis County on Monday afternoon. The man, who was found unconscious and estimated to be in his 40s, was taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, Austin-Travis...
More Stories