Crenshaw: We Can Tackle Climate Change Without Destroying Texas Jobs

Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) penned this op-ed in the Houston Chronicle February 9th, criticizing President Biden's early executive orders on energy policy and outlining an alternative path forward to protect the environment without hurting Texas energy workers. 

"I reject this notion that we can’t combat climate change without hurting our economy and energy sector," Crenshaw writes in the op-ed. "I’ve been calling for solutions to climate change since I took office. But Americans are sick and tired of this false choice of inaction or job-killing regulations."

 

Dan Crenshaw: We can tackle climate change without destroying Texas jobs

The warning signs were glaring.

When asked whether he would be willing to displace hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers to pursue his climate agenda, then-candidate Joe Biden said, “The answer is yes.”

Kamala Harris — a Green New Deal co-sponsor — said “there is no question I am in favor of banning fracking,” during a town hall.

And in the final debate before the election, Biden said unequivocally, “I would transition away from the oil industry, yes.” 

On his first day in office, President Biden effectively canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. President Biden also announced a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal land and water.

Cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline takes away thousands of union jobs in America over a two-year period and hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts for Texas in just one year. And get this: it’ll likely hurt the environment. Keystone XL was a net-zero emissions pipeline and removing the pipeline will simply force transport by other pipelines, truck or rail, which are less safe and less environmentally friendly.

When asked by Sen. Ted Cruz what will happen to these union workers, Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg suggested they will just get “different” jobs. This is President Biden’s refrain too, that displaced blue-collar workers will find new jobs in renewable energy. But as labor data show, solar and wind jobs pay about $20,000 less than oil and gas jobs. That’s a real financial hit for any worker, but especially for those in the middle-class.  

Banning oil and gas drilling on federal lands will be the biggest blow for Texas. As this paper reported, “a drilling ban on federal lands and waters could cost the oil and gas industry up to 1 million jobs nationally by 2022, including 120,000 jobs in Texas.” With global energy demand set to increase for years to come, restricting our oil and gas production will also cede energy dominance to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia that don’t adhere to the same environmental regulations we do. That demand won’t change, and therefore neither will global emission levels. It is a high cost proposition, with no environmental benefit.

I reject this notion that we can’t combat climate change without hurting our economy and energy sector. I’ve been calling for solutions to climate change since I took office. But Americans are sick and tired of this false choice of inaction or job-killing regulations.

We can focus on solutions like carbon capture, a proven technology we use right here in Texas to reduce emissions from natural gas plants. Two bipartisan billsI introduced to boost this technology were signed into law as part of a year-end spending bill. 

There are also bipartisan bills we can work on to help reduce emissions without hurting jobs or our economy. This year I’ll sit on the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, where there are dozens of bills that Republicans and Democrats can work to pass to achieve this shared goal.

Killing Texas energy jobs is an unacceptable biproduct of President Biden’s energy policies. But if he is willing to put these proposals on hold and work with Congress on bipartisan solutions to protect the environment while protecting the livelihoods of my constituents, I’ll be an advocate for that agenda.

Americans expect us to do both. Let’s show them we can.

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