Texas Land Commissioner vows legal action against EPA proposed carbon emissions rule that is an 'all-out attack' on Texas economy and energy

 May 23, 2023

President Joe Biden's Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a new proposed rule aimed at drastically reducing on a truncated timeline the carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that generate energy from "fossil fuels" like coal, natural gas, and oil.

According to Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, however, that proposed EPA rule constitutes an "all-out attack" on the Lone Star State and its economy, energy sector, and public education system that is funded in part by the energy sector's proceeds, Breitbart reported.

In a letter to the head of the EPA, Buckingham vowed to pursue legal action in the courts to stop the proposed rule if the agency persisted in its plans to implement the new rule.

The EPA's new proposed rule

Earlier in May, under the auspices of the Clean Air Act, the EPA unveiled new proposed carbon emissions standards for all "fossil fuel-fired power plants," including "new gas-fired combustion turbines, existing coal, oil and gas-fired steam generating units, and certain existing gas-fired combustion turbines."

That proposed rule seeks to force the rapid adoption of emerging technologies like "carbon capture and sequestration/storage," which currently remain unproven at scale and are cost-prohibitively expensive. If implemented, the new rule would require all fossil fuel-fired power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent by the year 2035 and/or convert to hydrogen power by 2038 or be forced to shut down operations completely.

Needless to say, the EPA's new proposed carbon emissions standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants -- which supply the majority of the nation's energy needs -- has not been well-received by Republicans, Republican-led states, or really anybody with even a small bit of common sense and knowledge about domestic energy production.

Proposed rule is "an all-out attack" on Texas

At the forefront of the opposition is Texas Land Commissioner Buckingham, head of the state's General Land Office, who fired off a letter on Monday to EPA Administrator Michael Regan that bluntly laid out her issues with regard to the proposed rule.

"I am appalled and extremely concerned at the draft rule proposed on May 8, 2023, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding carbon pollution standards for coal and natural gas-fired power plants," Buckingham wrote. "Simply put, the implementation of [the Rule] would be an all-out attack on the energy industry, the robust Texas economy, everyday taxpayers, and public education funding in the State of Texas."

The proposed rule "is nothing more than a blatant attack on the domestic oil and gas industry. Rather than encourage the continued use of clean and abundant natural gas for energy generation, [the Rule] seeks to burden our natural gas-fired plants with untenable restrictions to compel their closure or conversion to a fuel source like green hydrogen."

Buckingham went on to reference the "challenges" and difficulties posed by the "budding carbon capture and sequestration industry," namely its high cost and unproven capabilities, and stated, "If it proves to be either impossible or economically unviable to utilize this as-yet-unproven capture technology, plants will be faced with no option but to shut down."

EPA rule will face legal challenges

Commissioner Buckingham also took a moment in her letter to EPA Administrator Regan to explain how the General Land Office, which has a "fiduciary duty to maximize revenues" from state lands used for energy and mineral production, contributes a substantial portion of the generated revenue to the state's public school system and public universities through the Permanent School Fund and Permanent University Fund, respectively.

"Due to the likelihood that [the Rule] will result in closure or curtailment of natural gas-fired power plants, and thus diminish natural gas revenues received by the School Fund and the PUF, [the Rule] will have a lasting negative impact on funding for public education in Texas," the commissioner wrote.

"[The Rule] is undoubtedly intended to buttress the Federal Government’s push to end domestic oil and natural gas production in favor of ‘green’ renewable sources," but such sources are admittedly "both variable and intermittent" -- as opposed to highly reliable fossil fuels -- thus, "in addition to decreasing revenue directed to the school children and college students of Texas, [the Rule] will present an undue burden on the State’s critical energy supply and Texas industry as a whole at a time when U.S. power consumption requirements are expected to increase by 12 to 22 percent between now and 2030."

Buckingham concluded her letter by advising the EPA head that her office "will seek relief in the appropriate court to stop the EPA from proceeding with implementation of the Rule" -- a clear threat of justifiable legal action in opposition to more federal overreach and anti-domestic energy production policies.

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