In our last post, we discussed the GLO’s announcement of the formation of the Texas Defense Task Force (“Task Force”), which was organized to identify and defend against federal overreach which threatens the Texas oil and gas economy. Kuiper Law Firm reached out to the General Land Office (“GLO”) to gain more insight into the goals, strategy, and composition of the Task Force. As promised, this post contains an update based on the information provided by the GLO.
The Task Force is expected to deal with issues relating to natural resources, challenges to EPA and water regulations, endangered species and land management which directly affect the state. The GLO envisions the Task Force as a natural extension of the office’s long history defending state land rights, citing its defense of state land against a federal land grab attempt by the Obama Administration and the Bureau of Land Management, and the office’s successful defense against an environmental ban on fracking in the state. The Task Force will continue to monitor and evaluate legal challenges to developing federal policies which impact the Texas oil and gas economy.
The GLO Commissioner refers to the GLO’s constitutional duty to protect Texans and the state’s mineral rich land as the impetus behind the Task Force. That protection extends beyond the land and minerals themselves. As we mentioned last week, the Task Force intends to protect the state’s economy and funding for public schools and infrastructure. The GLO reminds Texans that the oil and gas industry’s effect on our lives is pervasive – it is integral to the production of over 6,000 products we use daily. Therefore, the GLO views harm to the oil and gas industry as harm to our fundamental way of living.
The Task Force also seeks to protect domestic energy independence and achievements toward ending U.S. reliance on foreign oil. The GLO believes that energy independence and environmental conservation can co-exist, and points to the state’s leadership in alternative energies as evidence. Texas uses a full complement of energy sources, including wind, solar and oil and gas, all produced on state lands. Oil and gas companies are exploring renewable resources without considering the shutdown of the industry or curtailing its progress. According to a report published by the International Energy Agency, in 2019 the United States experienced the largest global decline in energy-related CO2 emissions (131 Mt, or 2.7%, to 4.8 Gt). The industry’s head start on the transition toward cleaner energy sources predates the Biden Administration’s recent measures.
While the Task Force is still in its formative stages, the GLO’s response indicates that its main objective will be to position itself to intervene as necessary to protect the oil and gas industry from perceivable threats.
Kuiper Law Firm, PLLC specializes in oil and gas issues. We will continue to update you on the Task Force and other industry developments; if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.