Seeking an early contrast to President Joe Biden, Gov. Greg Abbott visited the Perm Basin on January 28 and announced a series of steps the state would take to push back against the new Democratic government when it comes to oil and gas industry.
At a press conference in Odessa, the Republican governor vowed that Texas would pursue an aggressive legal strategy against the Biden administration, just as Abbott, then Attorney General, did against former President Barack Obama.
Abbott signed an executive order that he said would direct any government agency to use all lawful powers and instruments to challenge any federal action that threatens the "Texas energy sector." And he announced his support for legislation that "prohibits cities and counties from banning natural gas appliances," he denounced a similar move by San Francisco last year.
"I'm in Midland to make it clear that Texas is going to protect the oil and gas industry from any kind of hostile attack from Washington, D.C.," said Abbott, who was actually speaking in the nearby city of Odessa at CUDD Energy Services. "Texas will not stand by and watch the Biden government kill jobs in Midland, in Odessa, or any other place in the entire region."
During his early days in office, Biden took swift action to implement his climate change agenda by re-adhering the United States to the Paris climate agreement, canceling the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and putting a 60-day freeze on new oil wells on federal countries. The last step has proved particularly controversial in Texas. Four US House Democrats from the state have asked Biden to withdraw it.
Discussing his executive actions on climate change, Biden said they were part of a “whole government approach to putting climate change at the center of our domestic, national and foreign policies.
"It promotes conservation, revitalizing communities in cities and on farmland, and safeguarding and justifying the environment," said Biden, who insisted that despite his hiatus from fracking on federal land, "we are not going to ban fracking altogether." .
Abbott acknowledged that there are "zero or near zero" federal areas of drilling in Texas, so Biden & # 39; s order does not affect the state as much as it does in New Mexico, for example. Still, Abbott said he believes the Biden administration "will try to take measures that will make it harder, harder and more expensive" for Texas oil and gas companies, which are important economic drivers for the state.
The executive order that Abbott signed requires government agencies to "work to identify potential lawsuits, notice and comment opportunities, and other means to prevent federal violations of the law." Abbott called the order a "homework assignment" for every agency and threatened to fire agency leaders who disagreed.
Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a fellow Republican, said his office was ready to comply with Abbott & # 39; s order.
"Following the certification of the election results, I immediately ordered the Texas General Land Office to prepare for an onslaught of executive orders and government policy decisions detrimental to the Texas oil and gas economy," Bush said in a statement. statement.
As for the laws on natural gas appliances, Abbott did not cite momentum to ban them in Texas, but pointed to San Francisco's decision banning such appliances in new buildings. It was not immediately clear whether a bill had already been submitted to the Texas Legislature to achieve Abbott's goal.
In response to Abbott's press conference, the Democratic Party of Texas said Abbott was not "fair to working Texans" and noted that the state's energy industry is still hurting, and that the way forward goes through renewable sources, not fossil fuels.
"To conserve Texas energy, we must demand new leadership in this state that is fair, forthright with Texans, and embraces the future," party spokesman Abhi Rahman said in a statement.
Environment Texas, the Austin-based group advocating for cleaner air and water in the state, also criticized Abbott's event, saying he was "on the wrong side of history". state. Environment Texas executive director Luke Metzger said in a statement that the Governor's 'head in the sand' approach to global warming makes no sense if Texas could take the lead in it. resolve the crisis by taking full advantage of our abundant clean energy resources. and technological know-how. "
Gov. Greg Abbott says he will fight Joe Biden's energy and climate agenda & # 39; & # 39 ;, was first published on https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/28/abbott-biden-energy/ by The Texas Tribune.
The Texas Tribune is an impartial, non-profit media organization that educates – and connects with – Texans about public policy, politics, government, and state-wide issues.
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