During the 86th Texas Legislature, which took place from January to May, 2019, legislators passed a really stupid, transparently awful bill. Governor Abbott signed it. Now the state is being predictably sued.
IPI warned them. The Trump administration Justice Dept. warned them. They passed it anyway.
And I mean, they REALLY passed it. It passed the Texas House 141 to 5, and it passed the Texas Senate 31 to 0.
It still boggles my mind that a piece of legislation with such obvious flaws sailed through the legislature with hardly any notice. But now the chickens are coming home to roost, and Texas taxpayers are going to be paying for the state to defend the indefensible in a likely losing cause.
In an interview with Fox Business Network's Maria Baritormo in Davos, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the U.S. is now the world's top oil and gas producing nation. "The U.S. is not just exporting energy, we're exporting freedom."
“We’re exporting to our allies in Europe the opportunity to truly have a choice of where do you buy your energy from. That’s freedom. And that kind of freedom is priceless.”
"There's no strings attached when you buy American LNG," Perry added.
This is an important point, and we couldn't agree more
One of the tidbits contained in the just-released intelligence report about Russian interference in the US election is a section on other Russian propaganda activities, such as Russia’s propagandizing against fracking in the US.
The report says:
RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.
This hit close to home for me. In 2014, when my nearby city of Denton was voting on a ban against fracking within city limits, I got very involved. Two of the most vocal and ubiquitous leaders of the fracking ban were UNT professor Adam Briggle and a truly unhinged Twitter activist who goes by the name @TXSharon.
Both Briggle and @TXSharon appeared in interviews on RT regarding the Denton fracking ban. These interviews were used to promote the ban and to give credibility to these otherwise non-credible activists. Here’s Briggle on RT, and here is @TXSharon on RT.
Of course, the story of the Denton fracking ban is fairly well-known. Despite efforts by IPI and many others, it passed on the strength of voting by college students and professors, but was overturned by the Texas legislature before it even had a chance to lose in court. And the city of Denton eventually overturned it.
We said at the time that these activists were willingly allowing themselves to be used as tools of Russia in its attempts to discourage fracking in the US, and we were right.
The United States is the cleanest place on earth to refine oil. We have the highest environmental standards, the best technology, and the strongest rule-of-law institutions.
That Canadian oil is going to be refined somewhere. If not in the U.S., it’s going to be refined elsewhere. Contrary to Obama’s implication, that oil is NOT going to remain in the ground.
That means the Keystone XL pipeline was the best option for the environment. Now that oil will be shipped by rail and by ship, where a spill is more likely and more damaging, where the refining will be more harmful to the environment, and where the jobs and other economic benefits will happen.
Just the latest example of how for liberal-progressivism, symbol is more important than substance. It’s about how it makes liberals feel, now—not about reality or the long-term impact of the policy.
The House of Representatives has just taken a major step toward reducing the U.S. trade deficit: ending the crude oil export ban.
In 1975, when gas lines were long and voters’ tempers were high, Congress passed legislation prohibiting U.S. crude oil exports. The country had seemed to peak its oil production a few years earlier and was on a gradual crude oil production decline, and Congress wanted the country to keep every drop it produced.
We'll, here's some good news: The House voted today to lift the senseless and outdated ban on U.S. crude oil exports.
And while this may seem like a no-brainer, there are any number of no-brainer pieces of legislation that Congress isn't bothering to move, so this is progress.
There is no argument against allowing U.S. crude oil exports except for an extreme anti-fossil fuels mindset, which is as unrealistic as it is wrong.
It's important for the Republican Congress to be passing this kind of commonsense legislation that the majority of the American people support, even if they suspect President Obama is going to veto it.
Let him. Force him to explain his rationale to the American people. Get him on record, and force all other Democratic candidates and elected officials whether they agree with the President or not.
One of the things that is so frustrating people right now is Congresses not bothering to pass good legislation because of the threat of a veto. In this baseball playoff season, Republicans need to stop playing wiffleball and start playing hardball.
I thought we were finally finished with this.
And then, last Wednesday on the Diane Rehm Show, with another of her typical three vs. one panels, it all came back.
Not only did Texas learn from the Denton Disaster and take steps to prevent it from happening again, but so did Oklahoma, passing a clear ban on cities attempting to regulate below-the-surface issues such as drilling techniques and either blatant or de facto bans on fracking.
During Diane’s show, several called from Denton, and at least one of them repeated the lie that is at the core of the Denton fracking ban, or more specifically, the lie they keep repeating.
What is that lie? “We tried to regulate drilling activity, and it didn’t work. The fracking companies just ignored the regulations.”
Extended dance remix version of the lie: “We passed restrictions in Denton on the gas companies, but they still found ways to skirt the regulations and do whatever they wanted to do.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign HB 40, a bill passed by the Texas Legislature that would pre-empt cities from banning hydraulic fracturing. IPI president Tom Giovanetti is featured in this NBC Channel 5 news package by Denton County reporter Brian Scott calling the passage of the “Denton fracking bill” a victory, saying it reasserts state law and protects free enterprise as well as the rights of mineral owners.
IPI president Tom Giovanetti joins NBC's Kristi Nelson and Todd Robberson of the Dallas Morning News on Lone Star Politics to discuss a bill moving through the Texas Legislature that would halt cities from outright bans on hydraulic fracking, discussing how rule of law should govern local rulemaking, not simply majority rule. Video begins at 10:34.
Very interesting and well-researched piece today suggesting that the evidence is piling up about U.S. anti-fracking campaigns being funded (in part at least) by Russian interests.
Read the whole thing. Very detailed. But here's an excerpt:
A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.
Unfortunately, those of us who support responsible use of innovative energy technologies such as fracking were unable to break through the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) spread by those who were pushing the Denton fracking ban. For various reasons insufficient effort went into addressing the health and environmental concerns of those who are normally in favor of energy production, but who have become fearful from the junk science being peddled by environmental extremists. And so, in Act I, the ban passed by a substantial margin.
Act II begins now, with several lawsuits filed already the day after the election. These lawsuits are not indicators of greed but rather of the very significant legal problems inherent in the ban. Contrary to what some ban proponents have stated, the simple fact that the ban was placed on the ballot does not indicate legal soundness. In fact, the ban is almost certain to be found illegal on multiple fronts—the only question is which set of legal perils prevails first.
Most reasonable people would probably agree that, ideally, drilling for oil and natural gas should take place on relatively large tracts of rural land, well away from residences and public places. But here’s the poorly understood irony facing Denton voters on November 4: That’s the only kind of drilling that will be stopped if the proposed ban passes.
That’s right: It’s only out-of-the-way, inoffensive drilling on large tracts that will be affected under the ban.
Here’s why: While Denton had a weak drilling ordinance and issued some unwise drilling permits, that ordinance has now been significantly strengthened. Indeed, today’s Denton drilling ordinance has stricter requirements and larger setbacks than that of many other cities in north Texas. Anyone obtaining permits and drilling new wells today has to operate under the newly strengthened ordinance, including 1,200 foot setbacks. Fort Worth’s setback, for example, is only 600 feet.
Only wells on relatively large tracts of land and well away from property lines meet the test of the new ordinance and are thus even candidates to be banned.
Proponents of the ban are still seething over wells that were drilled close to residences and property lines under the old ordinance, or indeed that were drilled on unincorporated land. But the city’s hands are tied over those previously drilled wells.