Legislation filed last week in the Texas Senate would result in the creation of a state energy panel that would be tasked with recommending a statewide energy plan to the Texas Legislature no later than the end of next year.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1825, would create a nine-member Texas Energy Policy Council that would meet at least quarterly as it develops an initial statewide energy policy plan for submission to the Texas Legislature by Dec. 1, 2002.

“It is important for Texas to develop an energy policy so we can avoid the spiraling fuel costs and energy shortages now plaguing other states, such as California,” said State Sen. David Sibley (R-Waco), in a prepared statement. Sibley filed the bill on April 23. “We must make sure our energy remains reliable, plentiful and affordable,” he continued. He also said in prepared remarks that a statewide energy policy must protect the public’s health and safety by including environmental safeguards.

Members of the energy council would include: the chairmen of the Texas Public Utility Commission, the Texas Railroad Commission and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission; two state senators appointed by the lieutenant governor; two state representatives appointed by the Speaker of the Texas House; a member of the academic community with expertise in energy, appointed by the governor; and the executive director of the State Energy Conservation Office.

The bill was slated to be heard last week by the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce.

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