The 2020 Texas elections have the potential to affect the United States energy sector due to the state’s position as the largest oil- and gas-producing state. In fact, Texas produces and refines a third of our nation’s oil. Major impediments to the current energy buildout in Texas would ripple into the rest of the sector – impacting energy consumers not only in the United States, but across the globe.
This election cycle, Texans will not only participate in presidential and congressional elections, but will also designate the entire Texas House of Representatives, and more than half of the state Senate in what could be a facelift for state politics. Voters will also fill an important seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency responsible for regulating the state’s oil, gas, and pipeline operations.
Traditionally Republicans, who have long-supported the development of the natural gas, oil, and pipeline sectors, have maintained control over the state legislature. But the state’s changing demographics introduce new uncertainty. This was highlighted in Texas’s most recent Senate election where Beto O’Rourke (D) lost to incumbent Ted Cruz (R) by a mere 214,921 votes.
It is important to point out the success and positive impact of the U.S. energy sector, specifically in natural gas and oil, has bolstered our national security, provided significant economic benefits, and continued to fuel the American economy. But a political flip in Texas could drastically affect the state’s – and country’s – gas and oil industry as evidenced in other states. For example, in 2018 after Democrats won control of both legislative chambers in Colorado, the state’s Democratic lawmakers then swiftly passed a law that overhauled the state’s gas and oil drilling regulations, despite economic loss.
It would behoove Texans to carefully consider the broader implications of all candidates’ policies on energy before casting their votes this November. As Carisa Lopez, political director at the Texas Freedom Network, a nonprofit group that is trying to recruit young, progressive voters told EE News, “We will see the consequences of this election for the next 10 years.”
GAIN encourages all Texans, including elected officials, to recognize the value of the state’s natural resources and position to lead the country to energy independence through continued energy development and infrastructure build out.