Energy and States' Rights: Squeaky State gets the Grease
America is now governed by an individual whose pathological contempt for the energy sector promises to destroy American economic strength for future generations. President Obama has openly pursued policies that accurately can be described as suicidal in their economic consequences.
Each one of these policies is disguised as having an environmental purpose, but in reality serves as a poorly constructed cover for massive wealth redistribution and wholesale economic terrorism. To truly understand the anti-prosperity psychosis driving Obama, Americans need only observe his efforts to gain power by undermining his own nation’s energy sector.
A brief recap:
Obama’s original cap-and-trade program would have reduced US GDP by an astounding $9.4 trillion, or half the US economy.
Using the BP oil spill as his casus belli, Obama attempted to ban drilling in the Gulf, placing thousands of immediate jobs and hundreds of thousands of related jobs at risk. In the face of multiple federal court rulings declaring the moratorium illegal, Obama finally rescinded the ban. Even so, Obama has succeeded in slowing permits to an absolute snail’s pace, negatively impacting the Gulf economies of Texas and Louisiana. Permit approval has still not reached pre-moratorium levels.
At the Copenhagen conference, Obama concluded an agreement (unratified), which committed the US to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars annually to other nations as “climate reparations.” This was allegedly necessary to repay so-called “climate debt.” Marxist redistributive schemes, and not the good of the climate, would appear to be the root of these commitments.
Coal accounts for approximately half of US energy consumption. And yet, Obama is on record openly stating his intent to “bankrupt” the coal industry. As he says, the result will be that “electricity prices necessarily skyrocket.” Why is that necessary exactly?
The Obama Administration is now pursuing the same economically rapacious system via regulatory machinery supplied by the EPA, as evidenced by its CO2 rule, among other equally damaging regulations.
Texas, a paragon of entrepreneurial virtue, is the main target of these regulatory assaults. The EPA is now instituting programs at Obama's direction that will reduce GDP in Texas alone by $1 trillion. The EPA claims that its policies will more than compensate for lost wealth by saving a bogus number of “lives.” These claims have been successfully disputed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF).
Unless swift action is taken to halt the overreach of the Obama-aligned EPA, economic chaos on a grand scale will likely ensue. But what action can be taken?
Since the federal government has been perverted and saturated by Obama ideologues at every level, regulatory agencies like the EPA no longer function as independent entities, instead reporting directly to Obama. This prevents a fair hearing for businesses that account for millions of US jobs. Consequently, the only solution to federal encroachment is a state or local response.
Texas has successfully demonstrated this approach. Texas Governor Rick Perry has led the charge with calls for reclaiming stolen state power from the federal government via the Tenth Amendment. Many states have followed Texas with nullification campaigns against oppressive federal statutes like ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act). But these calls for action are merely broad philosophical lines in the sand, not problem-specific solutions.
How can specific industries, like the energy sector, use the Constitution to combat job-killing agency directives?
State regulators offer the best means of defense. Overlapping jurisdiction means that not everything the EPA decides will have immediate impact in each state, and in some states will have no impact. Especially after Obama EPA appointee for Region VI Al Armendariz was caught outlining totalitarian strategy of “crucifying” industry leaders in Texas in an effort to silence opposition, as well as recent EPA efforts in Texas to stop drilling on the basis of faulty claims that drilling will contaminate groundwater, many realized that a state-level regulatory fight would be necessary to succeed where the EPA is concerned. Armendariz has since been asked to resign.
In Texas, energy regulations are tempered by a state agency called the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), an organization dating historically all the way back to the initial discovery of oil in Texas. The TRC has been a bulwark against unfettered EPA oppression within the state's borders, and new candidates for the TRC are taking an even more aggressive stand.
TRC candidate Roland Sledge, a man with 35-plus-years experience in the oil and natural gas industry, sought to enlighten oil execs at a recent seminar sponsored by Graves and Co. which I attended:
“We are on the threshold of the biggest oil and gas boom in US history, and Texas is poised to lead the way. This comes at a time when our nation has suffered the loss of millions of blue-collar manufacturing and service industry jobs to foreign countries...However, since the late 1990s the advances in oil and gas technology, namely horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of shale formations, have resulted...in a clear path to energy independence from potentially unfriendly governments that supply over 25% of our nation’s daily energy needs.”
Speaking about the energy sovereignty of Texas as it pertains to EPA regulations, Sledge informed attendees, “The opportunity that I speak of is real. But just as real as the potential to have it ripped from our grasp if Obama, the EPA and the radical environmental groups prevail in their assault on the oil and gas business...I come to this fight...to stop the Federal Government[sic]from usurping the regulatory authority of the Railroad Commission, which has been legislated to it by the elected representatives of the citizens of this great state.”
Sledge has a plan of action for legally resisting the EPA and the Obama Administration in Texas, and he and others like him are making significant progress toward thwarting the overreach of federal bureaucrats.
In addition, Sledge proposes a 3-point strategy for addressing the problems that expose the Texas energy sector to EPA interventionism: Sledge suggests creating a transparent electronic log to demonstrate the ecologically-safe practices of the industry at each stage of drilling, abolishing the use of fresh water in hydraulic fracturing, and finally, ending industry use of toxic chemicals in the aforementioned drilling process over a phased 15-18 month period.
Steps such as these will go a long way to curtailing the EPA’s currently unlimited opportunities for meddling.
The zeal with which Obama and the EPA are working to obliterate US economic strength should motivate Americans to adopt the Texas model, exemplified by men like candidate Roland Sledge. The Texas model can likely provide a way to protect industries like oil and natural gas, which are the engines of economic prosperity so vital to America's future.