Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick is livid with the current administration’s oversight of the energy industry, and wants real, fruitful debate from presidential candidates on the issue.
“If pricing pressures from OPEC were not enough, the pain felt in the oil field today is the direct result of political decisions and bureaucratic policies made in places like the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service,” Craddick stated in a recent editorial published by Forbes.
“For far too long we have let others determine our energy fate. If our nation is going to make measurable strides toward energy independence, now is the time to act. As presidential candidates kick-off the debate season, voters have a right to ask: What is your plan to responsibly develop America’s energy potential?”
The Chairman noted that the oil and gas industry employs roughly 10 million Americans, and in states like Texas, energy is the lifeblood of a healthy economy. Craddick stated that Texas provides a good model for the whole nation to follow.
“[The Railroad Commission of Texas] regulates more than 265,000 active oil and gas wells, 270,000 pipeline miles and hydraulic fracturing,” Craddick elaborated. “Through our day-to-day, on-the-ground regulation of the industry, the successful and safe production of oil and gas is achieved, allowing Texas to drive the American energy industry’s leading role in world markets.”
Many companies, according to Craddick, would rather explore for and produce oil in Texas over most places in the world due to the state’s balance between sensible, science-based regulation and basic free market principles. Craddick went further to say that the “Texas Miracle” is actually the result of a deliberate framework built over decades to allow business to thrive within a strong, yet sound regulatory structure.
Overall, critics of President Barack Obama’s energy policies feel trapped and limited from economic stimulation. Many feel that Obama claims to be on the side of energy development as long as America doesn’t drill for it, transport it, or export it. Craddick made a point to highlight the hypocrisy she feels exist within the recent deal with Iran.
In Texas, we ask this of Obama: You have recently approved Iran’s ability to export oil; why then, shouldn’t the U.S. have the same ability to succeed in a world market?
So far, most presidential candidates from Craddick’s party have mostly failed to address their plans for energy if they manage to clutch the job of presidency. At last week’s conservative debates hosted by Fox news, few instances came up to include a real conversation about oil and gas development.
Most notably were the comments made by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. The representative said, “When it comes to fossil fuels, we’re going to find more here and use less.” He added that he’s tired of America “sending $300 billion overseas to buy oil from people who hate our guts.”
“The choice between a weak economy and a strong environment is a false choice. That is not the choice I’ll offer America,” Graham stated in response to the criticisms of his environmental policies. “A healthy environment, a strong economy and an energy independent America – that would be the purpose of my presidency.”
Candidate Carly Fiorina (yes, I had to google her too) did state that on her first day, she would repeal the recent Power Plan which limits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by power plants.
With 15 months left until elections, Craddick will surely get the debate she knows this country needs rather than pretend candidates dancing around shiny talking points. But with oil stocks busting at the seams, precarious oil prices and an export ban waiting its day for national discussion, its best to happen sooner rather than later. Read the commissioner’s full editorial in Forbes here.