SAN ANGELO, Texas — A six-person panel of Texas legislators and business leaders addressed achieving energy independence and federal regulations at the 18th annual West Texas Legislative Summit on Thursday, August 8, 2022.

This panel was moderated by Representative Drew Darby and featured Congressman August Pfluger, Tracee Bentley, CEO of the Permian Basin Strategic Partnership, Mark Yates, the Executive Director of Rural Energy Alliance, and Representatives, Tom Craddick, Kyle Kacal, Ken King, and Brooks Landgraf.

Texas legislators and business leaders by majority criticized the EPA for changes made in late 2021 that targeted methane and other harmful pollution from the oil and natural gas industry.

According to Landgraf, the EPA under the Biden Administration Is using out-of-state air quality data to propose redesignating the Texas portion of the Permian Basin as a non-attainment area.

Landgraff claimed that In reality, what the EPA is trying to do is curb the safe and clean production of oil and gas and try to make it more difficult and more expensive to produce oil.

Pfluger agreed with Landgraff and continued by calling the act a “weapon” and “another example of the assault on energy that we’ve seen” pointing the blame at the Biden Administration starting with shutting down the Keystone pipeline.

Craddick said he believes that Texas, “is the cleanest it’s been” adding that 30% of the state budget comes from oil and gas. Continuing with the conversation Kacal said that with 767 currently operating drilling rigs the United States is not drilling enough to replace what is being consumed attributing it to a lack of money.

The topic of discussion took a turn as Bentley began discussing some of the challenges the Permian Basin is facing. The Permian Basin is known as the third largest energy basin in the world according to Bentley who believes that the United States and the rest of the world will continue to need energy from the Permian Basin for generations to come. In order to keep it that way Bentley said it is important to keep a workforce of skilled and trained professionals by starting with top-notch education, healthcare, infrastructure, and workforce development tools. She further emphasized the need for world-class healthcare stating that 50% of residents leave the region for better healthcare.

The panel ended on the subject of electricity with Darby stating that Texas,” uses more energy than California and New York Combined.” In response, Yates believes that the solution to the increase in consumption of electricity is building infrastructure to become energy independent