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Lone Star Governor: Look to Texas -- not Taxes -- to Fight GHG

A cap-and-trade scheme to regulate greenhouse gas emissions would be "the single largest tax in the history of our nation," Texas Gov. Rick Perry told attendees at the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) annual meeting in Biloxi, MS, last Monday. Perry was named chairman of the group of governors from oil- and gas-producing states.

IOGCC opposes climate change legislation.

"These energy taxes will cause every product that uses energy in its creation, cultivation or transportation to become more expensive, forcing hard-working Americans to bear massive new costs and kicking the legs out from underneath a national economy that is already wobbling," Perry said.

Texas has more installed wind power capacity than any other state and has embarked on a process to develop transmission corridors to serve new wind farms in West Texas and the Panhandle. The state also is pushing for more nuclear and clean coal generating capacity with carbon capture and sequestration targeted at enhanced oil recovery.

Perry, a Republican, said policy at the federal level should take guidance from the Lone Star State and should support a diverse energy portfolio not "burdensome regulations."

Implementing the regulations associated with the Waxman-Markey Bill (see NGI, Oct. 5; Sept. 21), also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, would increase the cost of living for Texas families by $1,200/year, according to the Texas comptroller, Perry said, and a study by Texas A&M University suggests that virtually all Texas ranchers and farmers would be negatively impacted by the bill.

Waxman-Markey would "cripple Texas' energy sector, damaging both the state and national economies and severely impacting national oil and gas supplies," Perry claimed. Texas' energy industry supplies 20% of the nation's oil production, one-fourth of the nation's natural gas production, a quarter of the its refining capacity and nearly 60% of the nation's chemical manufacturing, according to the governor.

"Unfortunately, too many folks with a voice in the conversation base their perception of this business on newsreels of gushing wells, images of oil-soaked wildlife, and movie characters in cowboy hats lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills," Perry told the IOGCC attendees.

Perry said the federal government should make alternative energy technologies less expensive, thereby encouraging widespread commercial use. Modernizing the national energy grid to support wind and solar energy transmission, facilitating investments in the development of carbon capture and sequestration technologies and removing barriers to investment in nuclear generation would reduce carbon emissions while encouraging competitiveness, innovation and growth in alternative energy sources, he said.

Texas Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones also attended the IOGCC meeting. She touted natural gas, particularly that produced from unconventional shale plays, as a tool for addressing climate change.

"In the past few years, we have seen the formerly unconventional shale gas become conventional," she said. "Thanks to technology pioneered in Texas, new shale gas fields across America are changing the dynamics of our energy resources. There is a paradigm shift in the works, and it is clear that natural gas is ripe for the picking. We should put it to work for America."

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