Earlier this session, the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) hosted the industry’s second Texas Energy Day at the Capitol. Although it is a young event, more than 60 companies and 700 people participated. Participants had much to celebrate and good news to share with lawmakers and staff:
- Texas is enjoying an energy boom. Production doubled between 2012 and 2018.
- $14 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties were paid in 2018, an average $38 million a day.
- The industry provides 348,000 jobs across the state.
- Texas is responsible for 40% of the nation’s oil and gas production, making the state also responsible for the very real potential of America achieving energy independence.
Opening Energy Day was a round of congratulatory speeches from lawmakers and regulators at every level of Texas government, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who was quick to point out that oil and gas alone provides 10% of the state’s annual budget and is responsible for Texas’s economy being one of the strongest in the world. In fact, if Texas was a stand-alone nation, its economy would be the 10th largest in the world.
Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian reminded the group that the potential for energy independence has serious and real national security implications, as it has already allowed the United States to approach foreign policy in the best interest of our country, as opposed to the predicament of being held hostage to oil-producing nations.
But the day wasn’t about statistics and political speeches alone. The Texas Oil and Gas Association transformed external and internal areas of the Capitol into “Energy Avenue” and “Technology Hub” with displays for Capitol staff and visitors that provide a look into the technology that allows the industry to exceed environmental and safety standards.
TXOGA President Todd Staples said of the exhibits:
“Texans are living longer and more prosperously because of the innovation on display at the Capitol. This undeniable progress reinforces that we do not live in an ‘either or’ world where you have to choose between energy and the environment. While protecting and improving our environment, innovation allows us to produce more energy, create more jobs and bolster our energy security. Texas oil and natural gas is securing our economy, our environment and our future.”
With any growing industry comes growing pains. Moving more product from the basins to the refineries requires more pipelines, which includes private companies’ eminent domain rights to purchase private land under which to run those pipelines. As a result, the fight at the Capitol between landowners and industry has reached a fever pitch.
In the name of eminent domain reform, a bill is being considered in the Texas Senate that would allow landowners an opportunity to indefinitely delay land acquisition proceedings, even as industry leaders have offered eminent domain reform language that would guarantee increased purchase prices and more transparency in the process.
There is no question that, unless lawmakers allow industry and landowners to negotiate a bill, our national security, Texas’ economy, and the viability of state and local governments will be compromised and the celebratory mood of the 2019 Texas Energy Day will be very different in 2021.