Energy & Environment

Texas Sees Gloom and Doom by Cutting Greenhouse Gases

Just a day after the U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments over the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, Texas lawmakers held their own hearing. Republicans said new, federal environmental rules won’t be good for the state.

Gas well near subdivision in Katy
Gas well near subdivision in Katy

The Texas Senate’s Natural Resources Committee took testimony Wednesday about what impact Texas might feel from new, federal rules aimed at slowing climate change. 

The rules by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming: gases like carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants and methane from oil & gas well operations. Texas’s energy industries are major sources of those gases. The rules are being challenged in federal court. 

Republicans worried the rules would drive up costs and hurt industries that are heavy users of electricity. Sen. Robert Nichols, a Republican from East Texas, said if closing coal-burning power plants caused electricity rates to jump, that would cripple factories in his district.

“I can guarantee you I will lose thousands of jobs in my district if that occurs,” Sen. Nichols said.

Oil & gas industry representatives testified that the industry has already done plenty to cut methane leaks from well sites and said the new rules were part of effort by the Obama administration to shut down the oil industry. Ed Longanecker with the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association gave the committee a lengthy list of federal environmental regulations the industry apparently found onerous.

Democratic Senator Carlos Uresti from San Antonio, asked Longanecker: “Are there any regulations on here you think we should comply with?” Longanecker: “I would have to go through the list to give you an accurate answer sir.”

Environmental groups testified that the industry is greatly exaggerating the cost of the new rules which they said were effective ways to stop the worst effects of climate change.

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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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