Texas Climate Plan Hopes to Reduce Texas’ Carbon Emissions
Plan would also regulate the state's fossil fuel industry
On April 8, Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, and 16 Democratic colleagues unveiled their Texas Climate Plan, a package of 41 bills filed this session to reduce Texas' carbon emissions (the highest among the states) and increase regulation of its large, venerable, and powerful fossil fuel industry.
The package groups the measures, all filed before the mid-March filing deadline, into four categories. The first two focus on energy production: "Texas Jobs for a Changing Economy" includes job training investments to support a transition to clean energy, while "Preserving Texas Resources and Industry Accountability" includes a tax intended to curb gas flaring (currently, producers pay no severance taxes on the harmful methane emissions they flare off) and requiring producers to submit gas capture plans.
The other categories focus on protecting the rest of us. "Transparency to Empower Texans" includes measures to reform pipeline permitting, strengthen the regulatory abilities of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and create an Office of Environmental Justice, plus the biennial call to rename the Texas Railroad Commission to reflect its actual role overseeing the state energy industry. Finally, "Resiliency in a Changing Climate" includes measures responding to the devastation caused by February's winter storm Uri and updating energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances. "Texas can continue to be a leader in energy if we take advantage of new technologies," Hinojosa said in a press release. "We must now, with urgency, respond to, and be prepared for, a warming planet so that Texans can literally continue to live and thrive."