Don't Mess With Texas

The federal government is once again overstepping its authority by messing with Texas.  Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leadership continued their game of hardball by stripping Texas of its authority to issue greenhouse gas permits. It is painfully obvious that the EPA is making an example out of Texas. Out of the 13 states that initially objected to the EPA’s efforts to regulate, Texas is the only one who has not surrendered to the intrusion of the federal government. As a result, the EPA is punishing Texas for not giving in to their demands.

Although the cap-and-tax legislation failed to gain approval in Congress, the administration has arrogantly decided that it will implement this policy through new EPA regulations regardless of the law. As a result, I introduced the Ensuring Affordable Energy Act to immediately put an end to any back-door attempt to go around Congress and circumvent the will of the people. Like the president, I also know more than one way to skin a cat.

Governor Perry’s position that Washington’s “one-size-fits all approach doesn’t work” is right on the money.  What works for Idaho may not work for Texas. The EPA has demonized Texas for its refusal to roll-over.  It is no wonder that energy companies are leaving.  This mother-of-all mandates, coupled with the continuing “permitorium” on offshore drilling, is leaving companies of all sizes little choice.  

Texas, particularly my district of Southeast Texas, is the energy capital of the United States. Cap-and-trade regulations will drive up costs and create an uncertain environment for not just energy companies, but all businesses and individuals. This type of over regulation will strangle the economy and put thousands of Texans out of work.  Texas has been successful in ensuring clean air and keeping industry in our state.  The last thing we need is for the EPA to overstep and hamstring our progress. 
According to Rasmussen Reports, fifty-six percent of Americans say they are not willing to pay more in taxes and utility costs to generate unproven cleaner energy. Reports have shown, a cap-and-trade system would increase annual costs for American households by an average of $1,600. The people of our state have too much at stake and it is our responsibility as elected officials to stand up to over-burdensome and unnecessary regulations proposed by the bureaucratic machine in Washington.

Instead of making an example out of Texas, perhaps the EPA should use Texas as an example. Texas has simultaneously improved its environment and economy. The Texas Flexible Permitting Program has been successful in reducing emissions and allowing industries in Texas to thrive. According to a report from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the ozone levels in Texas decreased by 27 percent between 2000 and 2009. The national average decrease in ozone levels over this same time period was 12 percent. Our state is dedicated to finding cleaner energy alternatives, but we also know that we need to utilize our known sources of energy effectively and safely. 

I thank EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for visiting our great state last month. I am also eager to hear her testimony during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday. I understand that it is her hope to improve air quality nationwide. It is my hope that Administrator Jackson understands that as elected officials, our job is to defend the will of the people. The Washington “taxacrats” need to stop and listen to the people – and the law. Maybe they missed the memo: “Don’t mess with Texas.”  And that’s just the way it is.