January 2022

Op-Ed: Texas’ top energy resolutions for 2022

The new year is shaping up to be an important time for the energy security of our state and nation, and while there are many important issues to face, here are my top five energy resolutions for 2022.
Wayne Christian / Railroad Commission of Texas

#5 End Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda. President Biden and Congressional Democrats continue their relentless effort to pass a bill that spends trillions to appease climate catastrophists. This assault on the oil and gas industry is an environmentalist’s wish list from electric vehicle (EV) tax credits to a new tax on oil and gas production. This bill is on life support because it is so far left even some Democrats can’t support it. And rightfully so, as it is an attempt to tax and regulate the oil and gas industry out of existence and prop up unreliable wind and solar with more taxpayer subsidies. Green New Deal or Build Back Better? A devil by a different name that needs to end.

#4 Fight Federal Overreach. You can bet even if Biden and Democrats in Washington, D.C. don’t get what in Congress, they’ll have unelected bureaucrats do it. For example, look no further than to Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is creating new methane emissions requirements which will raise natural gas prices, establishing new fuel-milage requirements for cars (incentivizing EV production), and restoring the failed Obama-era “Waters of the U.S.” rule that violated private property rights. These continued anti -oil and -gas policies will kill jobs, stifle economic growth, and make America more reliant of foreign nations to provide reliable energy.

#3 Combat ESG Investing. Radical environmentalists aren’t only fighting their war on oil and gas with increased regulations, taxes, and international agreements. They are coming for capital investments and your retirement accounts using Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, the new “woke” way on Wall Street. ESG investing is a rising force that deprives legitimate companies with un-woke business models from necessary capital investment, essentially starving them financially. This growing threat could cause record bankruptcies in the U.S. energy sector, destroying millions of high-paying jobs and U.S. energy independence. All this to placate climate catastrophists while doing nothing to remove environmentally harmful energy produced by foreign, state-owned companies directed by tyrannical governments.

# 2 Support Increased U.S. Oil and Gas Production. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the top producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Fast-forward three years, COVID-19, ESG investing, and regulatory uncertainty from the federal government have stripped us of our hard-fought energy independence. By frequently attempting to weaken the U.S. oil and gas industry you are not reducing emissions, you are merely shipping them overseas while killing American jobs, increasing costs to American consumers, and harming our country’s national security. With the highest-in-a-generation level of inflation, Americans are seeing sky-rocking prices everywhere from the pump to the grocery store squeeze their wallets thin. The solution to our energy security isn’t other nations, it’s our God-given natural resources and world class workforce right here at home.

#1 Make Our Electric Grid More Reliable. Wind and solar energy failed us during Winter Storm Uri, but yet we are building more of it than ever. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas’ planned additions as of December 2020 include 11.6 GW of solar, 8.4 GW of wind, 5 GW of gas, with no new nuclear or coal. We need to build more natural gas fired electric generation in Texas, but the problem is natural gas power plants are penalized if they fail to generate the power they promised to. Wind and solar, on the other hand, can sell their power at negative prices and still make a profit because of state purchasing requirements and generous tax credits from the federal government. All this gives wind and solar energy producers a massive economic advantage, allowing them to make money whether they are successful or not. In a world of finite resources, investment in wind and solar has displaced investment in reliable forms of electric generation, like natural gas. However, this oversight does not have to be a hindrance. During the 87th Legislative Session, the engrossed version of Senate Bill 3 contained an intermittent generation resources requirement for ERCOT that was stripped from the bill. This provision would have removed the unequal treatment between hydrocarbon and renewable electricity generation thus providing a fairer market, increased reliability, and lower consumer costs. It's high time we make our electric grid more reliable by leveling the playing field so that cost and reliability drive investment decisions -- not politicians in Austin and Washington, D.C.

As the number one oil and gas producer in the nation, these issues are vital to the Lone Star State and ensuring we have the necessary energy to power our homes, schools, churches, and businesses.  With a looming global energy supply crisis and inflation still on the rise, we need more economic certainty not less; we need more oil and gas production, not more clean energy fantasies. As for me, I remain resolved to ensuring Texans have access to cheap, plentiful, and reliable energy.

About the Authors
Wayne Christian
Railroad Commission of Texas
Wayne Christian A lifelong conservative businessman, Wayne Christian was elected as the 50th Texas Railroad Commissioner in November 2016. Prior to his time at the Commission, Mr. Christian served seven sessions in the Texas House of Representatives, accumulating a strong record of standing for free markets and against burdensome regulations. He is married to his wife, Lisa, and together they have three daughters and five grandchildren. You can learn more about Chairman Christian here: https://rrc.texas.gov/About-Us/Commissioners/Wayne-Christian/.
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