Politicians demanding more transparency in state government understand a basic fact: When an agency balks at providing access to detailed information, people will wonder what it is hiding.

Someone should explain that to the Texas Railroad Commission. For almost the past year, the agency that regulates the state’s oil and gas industry has refused to let reporters speak to its in-house scientists and experts, the ones most qualified to provide an explanation when something happens. Instead, a spokeswoman replies to all inquiries by email. You can take a wild guess at how substantive those responses are.

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