Gilbert says Staples ignoring gas pump inspections
POSTED: Monday, September 13, 2010 - 9:29pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 7:50pm
The race for Texas Agriculture Commissioner is heating up with Democratic challenger Hank Gilbert of Whitehouse charging that incumbent Todd Staples is derelict on the issue of gas pump inspections.
Among all the other jobs the Agriculture Commissioner is assigned, is the duty of inspecting the pumps at gas stations for accuracy.
And Hank Gilbert says, Todd Staples has let too many stations fall through the cracks. Gilbert held a press conference today at an abandoned gas station on Loop 323, and charged that current Ag
Commissioner Todd Staples has allowed inspections to slip, and even when they occur, the result is a slap on the wrist, if that.
“We’re finding routinely 20-40% of the stations that are out of compliance,” Gilbert told us.
Gilbert pointed to the independent station at the Loop and Spur 248, and showed pictures of their state inspection stickers, stickers that were 13 years old when Rick Perry was Commissioner.
And as Gilbert spoke to the press, an inspector pulled up, and began checking the pumps at that very station.
“If you’ll look at the station behind me,” Gilbert told reporters. “It looks like the Texas Department of Agriculture is doing their inspection on those pumps. Because, when we did our Dallas Morning News interview Friday, I highlighted a sticker off of that gas station.”
The result of a lax inspection regime is possible overcharging, a problem found in almost 40% the gas pumps in the state between 2007 and now.
“We have seen reports and instances filed in particular stations in particular pumps, where people were getting gouged by 12-14 cents a gallon,” Gilbert said.
In Smith County, nearly half were found out of compliance in that period.
And how many were referred for enforcement? Only 11%, according to Gilbert. And for that, he blames politicians.
“Prior to 1989,” Gilbert says, “Prior to the time when we began to put professional politicians in this office, we inspected those devices every year. Now we only inspect them every 4 years, when we do that. “
We called the Todd Staples campaign and offered to air a response. We did not hear back.