Background: On Tuesday, the Texas Legislature passed HB17, a bill preempting local municipalities from acting to ban or incentivize any type of power source from utilities. This means that a municipality could not favor renewable energy sources over fossil fuels for climate reasons. The legislation is part of a suite of bills aimed to limit climate action and rig markets in favor of the oil and gas industry. Similar bills have been introduced and passed in other states.
Statement of Sharon Wilson, Earthworks Senior Field Advocate:
“The U.S. won’t meet our climate commitments unless President Biden reins in Texas’ efforts to protect the oil and gas industry at all costs, like this new law taking away local government power to protect their residents’ health and climate from fossil fuel power plants.
“Texas’ fossil fuel favoritism is one reason among many that Biden’s EPA must use the full force of the Clean Air Act to enact safeguards requiring a 65% cut in oil and gas production’s methane pollution by 2025. EPA should also take a very hard look at whether Texas should be trusted to enforce those safeguards once enacted.”
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HB40, passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law in 2015, similarly stripped rights of local governments to make zoning decisions regarding oil and gas operations.
REPORT: Wasted in the Lone Star State: The Impact of Toxic Oil and Gas Waste in Texas was released today with the endorsement of 11 other advocacy organizations. The analysis points out risks posed by waste in Texas cannot currently be mitigated by local municipalities and residents who bear the brunt of pollution.