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.