On July 15th I was pleased to join several colleagues in the Texas House, Senator Jane Nelson and Governor Rick Perry for a historic day in Texas. Together we all celebrated Governor Perry cultivating the work of the Texas Legislature by signing three important bills into state law: House Bill 3328, Senate Bill 20 and Senate Bill 527.
Collectively, these bills will change the face of natural gas production in Texas by increasing transparency and giving us more tools to carefully monitor and quickly address any potential effects that gas drilling may have on our environment while at the same time helping to achieve American energy independence. Texas has yet again taken its place as a national leader, this time in the management and production of natural gas.
House Bill 3328 is the first bill in this nation that will require companies who use the hydraulic fracturing process to disclose the ingredients that comprise their fracking fluid. I joint-authored this innovative legislation with Representative Jim Keffer because the added layer of transparency this bill brings will increase safety, further protect our natural resources in Texas and enable us to continue to have a strong energy component to our state’s economy.
Likewise, Senate Bill 527 will be a valuable tool for protecting our environment by funding additional air quality monitors in the Barnett Shale region.
The third bill, Senate Bill 20, establishes a grant program to incentivize heavy-duty shipping trucks to switch from diesel fuel to natural gas fuel. Not only will this bill help grow our North Texas economy, but it will help achieve American energy independence.
Many of us have worked tirelessly for years at the local level to strike the right balance between protecting our public health and well-being while at the same time allowing North Texas to reap the tremendous economic benefits that our natural resources provide. Entering the 82nd Legislative Session, expanding on our local efforts to find that balance was a top priority. These bills now signed into law meet that goal.
Upon signing these three bills, Governor Perry stated, “Texas’ energy sector continues to fuel the nation by continuing to develop traditional energy sources, cleaning our air and making tomorrow’s technologies more viable. These bills will help us stay on top by expanding our use of Texas sources of fuel, while addressing public concern about air and groundwater quality.”
Texas will now continue to lead the nation in oil and gas exploration and production, which already generates nearly one-third of all domestic natural gas, and contains one-fourth of all U.S. oil reserves and refining capacity. Likewise, we will continue to decrease ozone levels, which have already fallen by 27 percent from 2000 to 2009, more than any other state in the nation. We will continue down this path with the help of the industry that: meets our growing demand for natural gas, has created hundreds of thousands of permanent North Texas jobs and also keeps our state’s Rainy Day Fund strong. This is the right way to safeguard our natural environment and our public health. This is the Texas way.
As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives and I welcome your feedback on this and any other critical state issues. If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 512-463-0688 or by e-mail at [email protected]