In the final presidential debate, Democratic nominee Joe Biden made a “big statement” that would affect the Lone Star State more than any other. Biden firmly stated he plans to “transition from the oil industry” to a new, net-zero emissions energy system more heavily, if not exclusively reliant on renewable energy.
His campaign immediately recanted the position after the debate, saying he was only referring to eliminating oil subsidies — something he did tangentially mention in the debate.
Biden has tried to toe the energy tightrope throughout the election, attempting to appease the progressive, environmentalist cadre of his party enough to gain their votes while not losing the more moderate or independent voters that are not as resistant to oil and gas. In fact, some of those voters, such as those in Pennsylvania and, yes, Texas, depend on the oil and gas industry to put food on their tables.
The main and most frequently cited, both by supporters and the opposition, aspect of his plan relates to hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Biden has proposed banning new fracking operations on federal land and prohibiting existing ones from renewing when their lease expires.
Contrary to frequent accusations from Republicans, Biden has not committed to an outright ban on fracking should he win the White House. That position may change if he finds himself in the Oval Office, especially if the progressive wing continues the pressure.
However, his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is on record emphatically in favor of banning fracking.
“There’s no question I’m in favor of banning fracking,” Harris told a voter at a Democratic primary townhall.
Regardless, Biden’s presence on the national stage is one that would drastically reshape the Texas that has essentially been America’s mitochondria.
The Texan asked each candidate in a competitive federal race for their position on Biden’s prospective “transition” away from the oil and gas industry.
Candidates were given the option to respond in the following ways:
- Yes, I support the stated proposal.
- No, I don’t support the stated proposal.
- Or, respond with a brief statement further specifying or clarifying your position.
Their responses are listed below. If a candidate replied after the deadline, an asterisk will appear next to their name.
|John Cornyn (R-incumbent)||Senate||Statement||"When Joe Biden says he would transition America away from oil, what he really means is that he would transition hundreds of thousands of Texans away from their paycheck and deny Texas students access to a quality education both in Texas public schools and in our state universities. Biden’s call to outlaw oil is a gift to his far-left base and liberal donors that comes at the expense of the nearly 430,000 Texans who work in the oil and gas industry and the millions of Texas students who would suffer under this radical plan. The Biden plan would effectively defund Texas schools and universities by billions of dollars, hurting Texas students, parents, and teachers and setting our education system back for generations. It would devastate the state budget and derail critical transportation and infrastructure projects on which Texans depend. And by preventing access to our most affordable and abundant energy source, Joe Biden would plunge countless Texans into poverty. Biden’s plan is a direct attack on the people of Texas, and it is vital that Texans take a stand against this radical agenda by voting to re-elect President Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot."|
|MJ Hegar (D)||Senate||Did not reply|
|Dan Crenshaw (R-incumbent)||2nd Congressional District||No|
|Sima Ladjevardian (D)||2nd Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Van Taylor (R-incumbent)||3rd Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Lulu Seikaly (D)||3rd Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Ron Wright (R-incumbent)||6th Congressional District||No|
|Stephen Daniel (D)||6th Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Lizzie Fletcher (D-incumbent)||7th Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Wesley Hunt (R)||7th Congressional District||Statement||"Biden's energy plan would be flat out disastrous for Houston and the 7th District. Unfortunately, we are currently lacking a Representative willing to stand up against Biden's dangerous policies. Congresswoman Fletcher will do nothing to stop it. In fact, her only gesture has been to give Joe Biden her wholehearted support. We are talking about an industry that puts food on the table for millions of Texas families, that funds our schools, and provides affordable, dependable energy to millions of Americans nationwide. We are talking about an industry that has brought unseen levels of efficiency and security to our energy infrastructure and allowed our Nation to become energy independent and lower our emissions at the same time. And yet, Joe Biden would mandate it out of existence. The hardworking Texans who have made Houston the energy capital of the world deserve better and Fletcher’s empowerment of Biden’s plans is utterly disqualifying."|
|Michael McCaul (R-incumbent)||10th Congressional District||No|
|Mike Siegel (D)||10th Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Chip Roy (R-incumbent)||21st Congressional District||No|
|Wendy Davis (D)||21st Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Troy Nehls (R)||22nd Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Sri Kulkarni (D)||22nd Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Gina Ortiz Jones (D)||23rd Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Tony Gonzales (R)||23rd Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Beth Van Duyne (R)||24th Congressional District||Statement||"Biden couldn’t have been more clear. Just like [Candace Valenzuela], he wants to kill off millions of jobs tied to energy production. Do Texans want to elect someone who promises to kill our jobs, take our private healthcare, raise our taxes and lockdown our families? I don’t think so."|
|Candace Valenzuela (D)||24th Congressional District||Did not reply|
|John Carter (R-incumbent)||31st Congressional District||Statement||"Absolutely not. Joe Biden’s energy policy is detrimental to Texas families and our state’s economy."|
|Donna Imam (D)||31st Congressional District||Did not reply|
|Colin Allred (D-incumbent)||32nd Congressional District||Statement||"[Former Vice President Biden] was clear that he would end subsidies for the oil industry that it doesn’t need. I agree with everyone from Vice President Biden to Shell and ExxonMobil, who all say we have a tremendous opportunity in clean and renewable energy. Investing in wind, solar and carbon capture technologies will create thousands of good-paying Texas jobs and help us combat the urgent threat of climate change.”|
|Genevieve Collins (R)||32nd Congressional District||Statement||“The oil industry is responsible for the Texas miracle. Our energy sector keeps our taxes low, our economy booming, our schools fantastic, and our state exceptional. Any plan to 'transition' away from oil must be called out for what it is: a job killer for the state of Texas, and destructive to the North Texas economy.”|
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.