July 28, 2021
STEER Executive Director Stephanie Moreno participated in a panel of energy experts featured in a bipartisan forum titled, “Promoting American Energy Independence: Developing the Lonestar State,” hosted by Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28) to highlight the benefits and importance of oil and natural gas development in Texas. The panelists spoke on the critical nature of continuing to support innovative American energy development and the impacts the Biden Administration’s misguided anti-oil and natural gas actions have had on rural communities in Texas.
Chairman Newhouse reinforced the importance of the industry when he said, “These revenues are critical for local schools, businesses, infrastructure, and other critical services throughout Texas. And nowhere is it more apparent that cutting these revenues – by throttling our oil and gas industry – have a severe impact on low-income and rural communities. I appreciate Rep. Cuellar engaging on this critical issue, and it is my hope that we can continue to highlight the bipartisan importance of promoting American energy independence and responsible domestic energy development.”
Rep. Cuellar noted, “In Texas, we are number one in the country when it comes to oil and gas. There are a lot of good-paying jobs in Texas that are created by the industry. It’s not only the jobs created or the money that is put into the economy, but I see the amount of funding that comes to the state government, including to our public schools. We are going to see a transition from oil and gas to energy alternatives, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow. It’s been my pleasure to serve with Congressman Newhouse, and I appreciate that we can work together on these issues.”
In her remarks, Moreno addressed the impact of the oil and natural gas revenue on her rural community: “As a former county judge, I witnessed firsthand the struggles rural communities have in bringing doctors, jobs, and opportunities to small communities with limited resources. The oil and natural gas industry not only impacts a number of jobs in these rural communities, but the investments made by the industry fund economic development organizations, hospital districts, walking trails, and festivals. It allows rural communities to compete with larger cities in providing the quality of life families deserve.”
Moreno noted that in November 2019, for the first time in decades, the United States became a net exporter of petroleum products, including both refined petroleum products and crude oil, providing energy independence for the nation. “This proud milestone is not only a source of independence and security for our country, but it is also the source of financial independence to our State, our local governments and our school districts,” she said. “In 2020, the Texas oil and natural gas industry paid $13.9 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties. This steady stream of revenue is critical in providing equipment to our first responders, billions in funding for K-12 public education, educational opportunities for first generation college bound students, and savings we rely on to help us through natural disasters, economic downturns, and more recently, global pandemics.”
Finally, Moreno highlighted that fact that all of this progress is occurring simultaneous to tremendous environmental progress. She noted that thanks to natural gas, the United States leads the world in reducing energy-related CO2 emissions, outpacing all participants of the Paris Climate Accord. This week the U.S. Energy Information Administration, announced that in 2020, the United States produced the least carbon dioxide emissions from energy in nearly 40 years.
She urged members of Congress to strengthen our economy and environment with continued support for the oil and natural gas industry. She said, “I ask that you ensure continued, responsible development of the essential energy infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of our booming population. We all rely on electric transmission lines, roads, high-speed internet, drainage and flood control and pipelines for water, oil, natural gas and transportation fuels, and the expansion of this infrastructure is essential to our country’s continued growth and success. And finally, I ask that you commit to science-based policy and rational discussions related to environmental issues, with the leading innovators – the oil and natural gas industry – at the table.”