Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
Seven Democratic U.S. Representatives have requested that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), not attack the oil and gas industries in the budget reconciliation bill.
Despite all the worries they raised and others in the industry, Democrats on the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee pushed through a part of the bill which included billions of dollars of taxes, fines, and fees on oil and gas industries in support of climate change.
Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., said the section of the bill that passed “invested in millions of American jobs” and put the U.S. “on a more stable long-term economic and environmental path.”
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Democrats from Texas’s oil-and-gas-dependent areas are up against tough re-election challenges next year.
In a newsletter to constituents, Gonzalez, whose district stretches from Seguin to McAllen, said he urged Democratic leadership to reconsider provisions targeting energy jobs in the Build Back Better Act “that unfairly target oil and gas jobs.”
“While I agree that we should support the growth of green jobs, and invest in our workforce and healthcare system, we must not do it in a way that hurts Texas jobs and Texan families,” he said.
Cueller, whose district also stretches to the southern border and has also called on the Biden administration to halt its open border policies, argues that Biden’s energy plans will cost thousands of jobs and only increase costs, hurting Texans and other American, in the process.
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The Texas House Democrats argue the “language in the House budget reconciliation package specifically targeting the U.S. oil, natural gas, and refining industries … have the potential to cost thousands of jobs, stifle economic recovery, increase energy costs for all Americans, strengthen our adversaries, and ultimately impede the transition to a lower carbon future.”
These tax reforms will reduce domestic production further and threaten domestic refining capacities, while increasing oil demand from OPEC+ members.
The price of crude oil is the largest factor in gasoline prices, and Biden’s policies, they warn, will increase costs for crude oil production, and thereby the costs of all products reliant on crude oil, for consumers.
The budget reconciliation bill should not “unduly disadvantage any industry and oppose the targeting of U.S. oil natural gas and refining with increased taxes and fees and the exclusion of natural gas production from clean energy initiatives,” they add.
Veasey, Cuellar and Fletcher contacted Biden in February to cancel his Jan. 27, order that stopped the issuance new leases for oil-and gas production on federal lands.
The order, they argued, would negatively impact the economy, make the U.S. dependent on other countries for oil and “hurt an already suffering community.”
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They didn’t get a response.
All of the clean energy jobs the Biden plan refers to – wind, solar and carbon capture – rely on oil and gas for production. Without oil, it is impossible to produce any.
According to the Texas Oil and Gas Association, while oil prices fell to historical lows and West Texas Index dropped below zero last year for the first-time in its history, demand for oil and natural gas products soared.
“Nearly every in-demand product we need to be safe, to save lives and to power our economy – from face shields and hand sanitizers to high-speed internet connections and computers – is made possible by oil and natural gas,” TXOGA President Todd Staples said in a statement.
Under the Trump administration, the U.S. became the world’s top producer of oil and maintained its position as the top global producer of natural gas. For the first time in 49 years, the U.S. was a net producer of crude oil and refined petroleum products. It is currently the fifth consecutive year that the United States has been the largest net exporter worldwide of natural gas.
Despite being hit hard by the state’s shutdown and an oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia early last year, the Texas oil and gas industry helped contribute to a budget surplus when the state was facing a deficit. In fiscal 2020, the industry contributed $13.9 billion in tax and royalties to state revenues. This funding provided more than $2B to schools and 688M to Texas counties.
This article was syndicated by permission of The Center Square.