Reconciliation typically means the restoration of friendly relations. Still, to President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and liberal Democrats in Washington, D.C., it means harmful taxes, increased costs on American families, and billions in out-of-control spending on wasteful green energy projects. If this is friendly, then what does hostile look like?
Make no mistake about it, the current reconciliation proposal is an assault on Texas’ oil and gas industry. The Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill is an environmentalist’s wish list of green energy policies from electric vehicle tax credits to creating a taxpayer-funded climate army to mandating unreliable energy sources for electricity generation. It could also create new taxes on carbon and methane emissions. This is all an attempt to tax and regulate the oil and gas industry out of existence. But you don’t have to take my word for it.
The bill would include $1.4 billion for climate-based research, $3 billion for a tree-planting program, $5 billion for environment justice grants, $7.5 billion for a uniformed “Civilian Climate Corps,” $12 billion for electric vehicle tax credits, $150 billion for a “Clean Electricity Performance Program.” Some are advocating for a carbon tax worth hundreds of billions — and that’s just to name a few.
The American Petroleum Institute estimates that a Democrat-led initiative to establish a new methane tax could cost the U.S. economy as much as $14 billion and kill 155,000 jobs. Overall, this 2,000 plus page bill could cost the average American household up to $27,000.
Not only is all this expensive, but it’s also totally unnecessary. Democrats would have you choose between cheap, plentiful, and reliable energy or a clean environment – but that is a false choice. In July, the statewide flaring rate in Texas fell to its lowest rate in years, according to Railroad Commission data, falling by more than 75 percent since August 2019. Nationally, the six major air pollutants monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency have fallen 77 percent since 1970; while our energy consumption grew 48 percent, our population grew 60 percent, and the economy grew 285 percent.
Texas is the number one oil and gas producer in the nation. It generates 44 percent of U.S. oil and 25 percent of U.S. natural gas, employs more than 400,000 workers with an average salary of $129,000. It pays around $14 billion in taxes and royalties to the state and local governments. It quite literally fuels our everyday lives by paying for roads, schools, infrastructure, health care, emergency services, and so much more.
As Mr. Biden and Democrats in Congress attempt to appease climate activists, I pray they will consider the ways their misguided energy policies will impact average Americans as they gas up their cars, pay their bills, shop for groceries, take a vacation, or buy a home. With inflation already rising, we need more economic certainty, not less; we need more oil and gas production, not more clean energy fantasies.
• Wayne Christian is chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas, the primary regulator of Texas’s oil and gas industry.