Perry: The Biggest Challenge to the Energy Industry is Federal Overregulation

By The SE Texas Record | Jul 28, 2010

HOUSTON-Gov. Rick Perry today emphasized the need for innovation and competition in the energy industry to help relieve our dependence on foreign energy sources, protect our environment and create jobs.

The governor spoke at the Emerging Energy Technologies Conference hosted by Rice University in Houston.

"We are entering an uncertain time in Texas energy and much of that uncertainty is man-made in Washington, D.C.," Gov. Perry said. "There was a time when the biggest threat to our energy industry was foreign competition, but I sincerely believe that the biggest challenge facing you all today is a federal government that ends up doing more harm than good when it tries to help."

The governor reiterated his support for the legal action taken by Attorney General Greg Abbott this week to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to take over Texas' successful Title V permitting program and replace it with a less effective Washington-based command and control mandate.

"In pursuit of our state's best interests, I support Attorney General Abbott's decision to take our challenge to federal court," Gov. Perry said. "If Washington would get out of the way, or at least step aside, Texans will have cleaner air, environmental quality and safer production."

The governor also discussed the Gulf Project, a coalition of energy and environmental scientists, policy experts, academic researchers, private sector research scientists and state officials who will work to ensure Texas never endures the environmental and economic disaster currently occurring in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.

Gov. Perry believes safe and responsible domestic oil and gas exploration remains critical to meeting the nation's energy needs, and highlighted the devastating effects of an offshore drilling moratorium on both Texas and the entire nation.

Throughout the Gulf region, the ban represents the loss of between 900 and 1400 jobs per rig, as many as 46,200 jobs total, and a direct wage loss of up to $330 million a month, he said.

Rather than making traditional energy sources more expensive, Gov. Perry continues to support making alternative energy technologies less expensive, thereby encouraging widespread commercial use and removing barriers to innovation and competition.

He said modernizing the national energy grid to support wind and solar energy transmission, facilitating investments in the development of carbon capture and sequestration technologies, and removing barriers to investment in nuclear generation would reduce carbon emissions while encouraging competitiveness, innovation and growth in alternative energy sources.

Texas' energy industry supplies 20 percent of the nation's oil production, one-fourth of the nation's natural gas production, a quarter of the nation's refining capacity and nearly 60 percent of the nation's chemical manufacturing. Texas' energy industry employs 200,000 to 300,000 Texans, with $35 billion in total wages.

Additionally, Texas has already installed more wind power than any other state and all but four countries, and is developing new transmission lines that will move more than 18,000 megawatts across the state.

Texas has attracted more than 9,000 megawatts of energy from the development of next generation nuclear power plants.

The state is also looking to add new clean coal plants, which will capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions or use carbon dioxide to increase production from Texas oil fields.

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