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Senate Committee Votes to Increase Litigation, Stifle Revenue Growth for Schools, Roads

The Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) registered its strong opposition to the Committee Substitute for SB 421 (CSSB 421), which passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee yesterday. TXOGA President Todd Staples and Texas Pipeline Association President Thure Cannon sent a letter to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and all 31 members of the Texas Senate outlining the fatal flaws found in CSSB 421.

“This CSSB is not a compromise bill and is full of fatal flaws that would cripple the ability to provide essential services to Texans. These are not minor flaws in the bill but rather systemic, unworkable provisions,” Staples and Cannon wrote.

“CSSB 421 is wrong for Texas because the legislation will increase litigation, slow infrastructure development and ultimately stifle state and local tax revenue,” continued Staples. “We are confident that it is possible to balance property owners’ rights with responsible infrastructure development. CSSB 421 is not the answer and we are urging defeat of the measure to make way for a proposal that will benefit all Texans.”

“Since 2017, we have repeatedly asked to negotiate – in public meetings, letters, and in-person interactions – but no compromise language was presented for discussion. Our out – reach and good faith efforts to negotiate have gone largely unanswered as the committee substitute is replete with unworkable provisions, which puts all Texans at risk,” said Staples.

“Getting this legislation right is essential because build – ing new critical infrastructure, such as pipelines for oil, natural gas and transportation fuels, will allow the Texas energy miracle to continue, expand jobs and in – crease revenue for schools, roads, first responders and all Texans,” said Staples. “Further, expand – ing energy infrastructure is the best way to increase energy reliability and security.” New right-of-way acquisition regulations in CSSB 421 will incentivize litigation, impede growth, decrease jobs and will negatively impact not just energy infrastructure but all forms of infrastructure necessary to meet growing needs. CSSB 421 will de – lay important oil and natural gas pipeline construction, which could drastically increase the cost of heating and cooling Texas homes, schools and businesses and make it more difficult to deliver fuel in the event of natural disasters, ac – cording to Staples.

Pipelines are the main method of transportation for natural gas and fuel in Texas. Pipe – lines are also the safest ways to transport crude oil and natural gas, with product delivered via pipeline arriving safely at its destination 99.99 percent of the time.

New pipeline infrastructure also improves air quality and reduces traffic congestion by ensuring fewer trucks are on roads and highways.

TXOGA is a member of the Coalition for Critical Infra – structure (CCI), whose members joined with multiple other organizations representing industries that employ millions of Texans and benefiting the daily lives of everyone in the state, in opposition to CSSB 421. CCI represents public and private entities including cities, counties, water districts, railroads, electric utilities, gas utilities, pipelines, business advocacy groups, manufacturers, and litigation reform groups. Other organizations that have joined CCI in opposition to CSSB 421 include chambers and economic development organizations that represent a majority of the state’s population, port authorities and our state’s energy producers.