TEXAS — As part of an ambitious plan to combat climate change, President Joe Biden this week signed an executive order pausing oil and gas leasing on federal land and targeting subsidies for those industries.
The oil and gas industry fuels much of the Texas economy, and though much of the drilling takes place on private land not affected by the order, concern remains among lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he’ll hold a roundtable discussion Thursday focused on the state economy and oil and gas. The event is slated for 12:15 p.m. in Odessa and will be followed by a press conference.
According to the governor’s office, Abbott will hear from oil and gas workers, energy leaders, and advocates about how Texas can continue to support the industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure a prosperous future.
Interestingly, according to a report by the Texas Tribune, four U.S. House Democrats sent a letter to Biden asking him to rescind his order on land leasing. Those reps – Vincente Gonzalez of McAllen, Henry Cuellar of Laredo, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher of Houston, and Marc Veasy of Fort Worth – argue that the order is “far-reaching,” would eliminate jobs, increase imports from foreign counties, and reduce the country’s domestic problems, among other issues.
Biden has set a goal of eliminating pollution from fossil fuel in the power sector by 2035 and from the U.S. economy overall by 2050, speeding what is already a market-driven growth of solar and wind energy and lessening the country’s dependence on oil and gas. The aggressive plan is aimed at slowing human-caused global warming that is magnifying extreme weather events such as deadly wildfires in the West and drenching rains and hurricanes in the East.
Biden acknowledged the political risk, repeatedly stating his approach would create jobs in the renewable energy and automotive sectors to offset any losses in oil, coal or natural gas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.