By Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham
El Paso Times, Mar. 31, 2023
Texas shines as a bright beacon to everyone throughout the country. Being the ninth largest economy in the world, Texas is one of the most highly sought-after states to relocate — largely due to the success of our oil and natural gas industry. This industry is the cornerstone of our state’s economy.
However, this spotlight on our state and our escalating economic success could quickly dim if the city of El Paso’s Climate Change Charter passes this spring. According to a consultant, hired by the city council, enacting this progressive plan will cost $150 million. What started out as a petition with roughly half of the signatories being 35 years or younger, the city’s proposed charter would ban the use of city water for fossil fuel activities outside of El Paso city limits, require the city to create solar power jobs and necessitate those new and retrofitted buildings use rooftop solar whenever possible.
This charter also calls for 80% of the electricity that powers homes and businesses in the area to come from wind and solar farms or nuclear power plants by 2030. Additionally, the city must be powered entirely by zero-carbon electricity by 2045. An Economic Impact Study released by the El Paso Chamber noted that if adopted, the city will lose 170,000 jobs and over $9 billion in earnings by 2030. This proposal is not sustainable; it’s job-crushing.
Climate activists willing to defund education across Texas
As Texas Land Commissioner and steward of 13 million acres of state land and mineral rights, this proposal is worrisome and based on unproven ideals of green energy goals. If approved, this charter would hurt the funding for our Texas schoolchildren. The General Land Office (GLO) uses oil and gas leases on our vast state lands across the state and West Texas to fund Texas students and higher education through the Permanent School Fund (PSF) and the Permanent University Fund (PUF).
Permitting and leasing oil and gas development on state lands generates more revenue than any other source of income for the PSF. Last year alone, the GLO made over $2.1 Billion in revenue through mineral leases distributed to our public schools. It is unbelievable that to push their green agenda, these climate activists are willing to defund education across the state.
Over 1.37 million Texans are directly employed because of the robust Texas oil and natural gas industry. Texas leads the nation in refining, with 31% of the nation’s total capacity. Not only does our state have the largest pipeline infrastructure in the county, but Texas is also the United States’ top oil and gas producer.
Climate change warnings have been wrong for decades
While many climate activists decry the use of fossil fuels — this type of energy is vital to our everyday lives. Oil and gas are more than what you burn in your car. This crucial industry contributes to manufacturing over 6,000 everyday products and high-tech devices that Americans use daily, such as computer keyboards, cellphones, makeup, eyeglasses, and even — solar panels.
Now is not the time to impose unfounded, untested climate proposals which appease only a vocal minority. Climate change warnings have been wrong for six decades and, given the track record, won’t ring true anytime soon. Woke, uneducated activists peddle frivolous ideas that we can run this country on moonbeams and windmills; however, fossil fuels have been a reliable, abundant, cost-effective, and powerful energy source for over a century.
El Paso’s Climate Charter is a conduit for activists to impose their unsupported beliefs on the masses. This charter simply has no regard for every day, hard-working Texas families. I intend to ensure our state lands keep producing rich energy, which provides generous funding for our Texas students and veterans — and, ultimately, the economic stability of the people of Texas.
Dawn Buckingham is Texas Land Commissioner.
Originally posted on El Paso Times.